What is Anxiety? Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatments

What is Anxiety? Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatments

The term “Anxiety” haunts the 21st-century valley. Not even a single place is found without it. Full of confusing lifestyles have made us hugging to fear rather a free life. Every human is seen to be in a certain dilemma, dealing with one thing or the other. Anxiety begins with silence, and if untreated, can be a threat to life, causing suicidal thoughts.

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength. – Charles Spurgeon

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety, in simple terms, is the concern which deals yourself and your future, in a very negative, dull and stressful way. Sometimes, experiencing anxiety is good, as it helps in triggering fight or flight mechanism. This mechanism recognizes harmful events, attack or threat to life, and helps as a safety valve. This occurs on the discharge secretion of a sympathetic nervous system, preparing one for fighting or fleeing away.

This has been recognized as the first step of GAS (general adaptation syndrome) that helps to regulate stress responses. More clearly, the hormonal cascade is produced by the adrenal medulla, which further secretes catecholamines, involving norepinephrine and epinephrine, the most. The stress levels can also be affected by hormones like estrogen, and neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

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It activates, due to the amygdala, part of the brain, which finds difficult distinguishing the real with fake. This form of anxiety is very easy to be controlled by a hot shower or watching your favorite film or doing anything, which cools you down making you fresh and happy. But sometimes, this can take a troll leaving the person anxious for long hours, days, months or even years. When this happens, one needs to understand that he/she needs medical advice.

This form of anxiety will not only disturb you but also, after some time you will be seen neglecting the world. By ‘neglecting the world’, I mean you will feel everything around you as a threat to your identity or future. Worrying intensively can even cause you other health issues. This type is often characterized as “severe anxiety“.

Anxiety Symptoms:

After knowing about what anxiety really is, let’s focus on the anxiety attack symptoms. Anxiety symptoms are mostly classified into two variants:

  1. Physical anxiety attack symptoms
  2. Psychological anxiety attack symptoms

Before knowing them any further, let’s know the reason behind understanding these two. It’s significant as some people can experience either or both of the two. Experiencing either of them in high intensity, beeps the red signal, to immediately consult a counselor or a doctor.

Physical Anxiety Symptoms:

These include having blurry speech or inconsistent tone, having dry mouth, restlessness, face turns pale, shaking of the body, trembling of hands & feet, and lastly facing breath shortenings.

Psychological Anxiety Symptoms:

These include excessive worrying, not properly concentrating, facing troubled listening, over-thinking and sometimes even facing distracted thinking, lack of sleep, not willing to have food, feeling butterflies in the stomach, lack of social interest, avoiding crowds, more of negative thoughts, and mostly feeling self-occupied.

Let’s get a little more brief idea about the symptoms.

1. Excessive worrying, that too for 6 months continuous, is the first recognizing trait, of having GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). This includes worrying about very unnecessary things, which need not be given attention.

2. Feeling agitated, most of the times or all the times is the second trait which is a result of your anxiousness. This over-anxious personality of yours, makes you enjoy less which in turn makes you frustrating and angry. You can also experience dry mouth, heart racing, pulse rate fast, shaky hands, and sweaty palms for longer durations.

3. Restlessness ‘n’ Fatigue, is another famous symptom of anxiety if it occurs on regular basis with frequent intervals. Facing trouble staying calm can often result in tiredness, making you more inefficient for the chores, you are required to perform.

4. Irritability and difficulty concentrating is another symptom, experienced in severe anxiety. In this, a person feels irritated almost every time and in turn finds it difficult to concentrate, even on smaller details.

5. Trouble in being asleep or even falling asleep is a big challenge to them. Not having proper rest by the body leads to tense muscles. These can further lead to physical or internal injuries.

6. Irrational fears or phobias are mostly visible in anxious patients. So, they fear to be in crowds, unknown interactions, open places, heights, animals, natural calamities, etc.

Panic Attack:

An attack which involves feelings of sudden terror which strikes without any warning. It can occur anytime of the day or even in sleeping hours. It’s assumed as a heart attack by patients a lot of times, due to its symptoms:

  • Heart racing at high speed,
  • Shaking hands,
  • Sweating a lot,
  • Feeling nauseating, drowsy at times,
  • Pains in the chest,
  • Experiencing loss of control, and
  • Blurry vision with difficult breathing, often making them feel as if they’ll faint or even die.

Panic attacks never cause death, it just creates an illusion which is trusted by the patient. It fairly lasts 10 minutes but the stress caused by it can worsen the anxiety levels. If this situation occurs, one must start breathing slowly and try relaxing the person.

It’s indeed fearful for the patients as they aren’t aware of, when will they experience it again. It can be treated completely by regular sessions at psychotherapy or even medications. Breathing your stress out r, is indeed the best healthy way, to heal up.

Types of Anxiety disorders:

There are several types of anxiety disorders. Listings as:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):

GAD is one of the Most commonly found anxiety disorder in patients suffering from severe anxiety. It can be experienced at any age and by anyone, except children. The main symptoms of GAD notified are having lack of concentration, having fatigue, easily irritated, being restless, muscle tension, having sleepless nights, and most worrying hours.

Panic disorder:

People having this anxiety disorder face recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks are the result of sudden fearful or terror situations, which leads from the unexpected fearful incident. In this, one may experience trembling, sweating, shaking, feeling out of control, impending doom, choking, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, and fluttering emotions.

Specific Phobia:

It’s often called as simple phobias. It deals with the intensive fear or anxiety about situations or objects, which includes heights, flying, injections, blood, certain animals. Some even consider colors like red and blue as the representative of their phobia.

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Social Anxiety Disorder:

It was previously known as social phobia. This deals with the person avoiding social gatherings, presentations or even going in a small unknown get together. The person feels that he/she might end up getting embarrassed and also think mostly about others reactions. Stage-fright is very common indeed, but for some, it’s high on the side.

Agoraphobia:

In this person usually deals with two or more phobias, dealing with situations like using transport for the public, staying in open places, or in enclosed environments, or being in the open area outside the home, and also in a crowd, or even standing in a line. In certain cases, if the person experiences high agoraphobia can turn into a household being.

Separation Anxiety Disorder:

This deals with the feeling of separation with the closest relations of the patient. Also, if separated, they feel it could do harm to their loved ones. They try to stay away from commitments just to hope good luck for their attractions.

They also experience nightmares of being left alone by their loved ones.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

Excessive thought process which leads to repeat behaviors. OCD can be treated, but it can’t be completely cured. The patient fears the pseudo consequences if he doesn’t repeat his habit. Also, they form some pseudo beliefs in form of thoughts which if they don’t abide, they assume that something bad or disastrous would happen.

This can be for years or even lifelong. So, it’s only possible to tackle OCD, if the thoughts are changed into something positive. So, curing it fully isn’t possible as it will continue as a habit, later.

Selective Mutism:

Selective mutism is considered to be a rare anxiety disorder. It deals with normal people having fluent language skills, still due to the fear of specific social situations, are unable to express. It occurs before 5 years of age and the traits found are excessive shyness, fear of embarrassment in public, tantrums, and clinging attitude.

Hence, people having this type of disorder are often diagnosed by others, as well.

What causes Anxiety Attack?

An anxiety attack can be caused by various reasons mentioned below:

1. Health-related issues:

Upon knowing about diseases like cancer or any other chronic illness can make anxiety worse. This is mostly found as the greatest trigger due to the immediate personal feelings attached. Talking with the therapist on regular basis can be to some extent peaceful.

2. Medications:

Medicines such as birth control pills, capsules promising weight loss, and high intake of a cough and congestion pills, can result in triggering anxiety. They are responsible as they are OTC medications making you feel uneasy, by erupting your thoughts negatively.

3. Caffeine ‘n’ Skipping meals:

Taking more of caffeine-induced products, make your energy levels dropping fast, which in turn affects your sleep cycle, making your anxiety even worse. Hence, having a protein rich diet, with enough vitamins and minerals, will help you keep your mind and body fresh, with keeping anxiety at bay.

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So, just stop skipping meals, as healthy food gives you a properly functioning body with a good mindset.

4. Negative thinking:

Our thoughts regulate the entire body by making the organs calm at their working. If by any chance we speak negative to ourselves, it would hamper the organs working, making them stressful. Like food makes your mood good, same goes with the body. Positive thoughts trigger peaceful happiness whereas negative thoughts regulate anxiety.

5. Inner conflict ‘n’ stress:

Most responsible in regulating anxiety. Inner conflict not only arises confusion but also stimulate stress levels. As the levels increase they result in worsening the severe anxiety. Also, try staying calm, indulging yoga in routine, and also using some breathing exercises.

When you should consult a doctor?

If you experience anxiety for more than 6 months and with recurring symptoms, then it’s the best time to seek medical advice.

Before 6 months or less is not a sign to worry until the symptoms don’t worsen.

Anxiety Treatment:

The listings of treating anxiety are:

1. Meet a counselor or go for psychotherapy. Regular counseling sessions can make you recreate your thought process, making you vibrant and happy. Except for OCD, other anxiety disorders can be fully cured, by these enlightening sessions.

2. Exercises and meditation. Including exercises like breathing, yoga and any of your interest, can help you cure the stress levels by maintaining proper equilibrium. Meditation not only calms you but also instigate a positive attitude towards life. This also proves helpful in patients having OCD.

3. Natural remedies and aromatherapy. Any country’s civilization comes from the ancient remedies of survival. The natural use of plants, herbs or spices can help in treating many disorders. Aromatherapy makes use of the purest form of oils termed as essential oils. Their aroma is used as a therapy to calm nerves and anxiety. Best oil for anxiety is lavender, rosemary or even chamomile.

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How Regular Swimming can Reduce Anxiety Symptoms?

Swimming helps all the organs work in coordination, especially the heart. To all the hydrophilic reading this, it’s a piece of great news as your love for water can save you from anxiety and can also help those suffering from it.

Pumping heart helps the good circulation of blood which flushes calming and positive thoughts all over.

How certain foods help in reducing Anxiety?

Food provides us with all the basic nutrients, vitamins, and minerals required by the body and mind. If we are neglecting our food, by any chance, we are also compromising with our overall health and also giving a pass, to all health issues.

Always start by understanding the basics. So, let’s check the list about what’s all is needed.

1. Try eating less sugary foods. I know to be anxious you crave for sugar. Also, it is sugar what’s required to be replaced because it causes fluctuations in the body insulin and also in the energy levels. It has seen to worsen anxiety a lot of times. So, replace the sugar with fruits or even strawberries dipped into dark chocolate.

2. Try consuming complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or oatmeal, as they tend to break down slowly in the body, making you seem fuller and also provides the balance to the blood sugar.

3. High dose of nutrients without skipping meals. So, use high nutrient-rich diets such as legumes, seeds, nuts, leafy greens, cashews, flaxseeds, almonds, and avocado, providing you with all the necessary magnesium, zinc, Vit-B, and Omega-3 fatty acids. So, try not skipping meals, and also drink as much water as you can, to flush out the toxins.

4. Stop drinking alcohol or moderate it’s usage, as it affects the body, the next day, too. This may lead to sweatiness, which can make you uneasy, with the high heart pumping, similar as an anxiety state. So, if you already, suffer from it, this will worsen it more.

Final Words:

Try following these tips ‘n’ suggestions. If you do this on regular basis, you will notice the difference, within two months. Keep exercising and meditating, for pumping positive thoughts. So, don’t try skipping meals as right nourishment can do wonders to your body.

In the end, always remember:

Anxiety doesn’t define you or your actions, it defines the level of fear. It solely depends upon you, whether to select fear above confidence or vice versa. Remember fear leads to questions with unsolvable solutions whereas confidence leads to achievement.

Written by: Kanudha Gupta

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