Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues our society faces today. The emotion of itself can be a normal and healthy emotion that we all will experience throughout our lifetimes. The healthy side of this is the kind of emotion that can benefit us from possibly making poor decisions and/or help us to avoid potentially dangerous situations. This type of anxiety also comes and goes and does not necessarily interfere or impact our overall everyday lives. However, individuals facing a chronic anxiety disorder will have the reverse effect. They may all have unique symptoms, but most commonly they are attributed to two main thought processes, irrational fear or dread. This can leave you feeling hopeless or debilitated, but with proper counseling for anxiety, it’s something that can be easily addressed.
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders involves an excessive amount of worry or fear. While certainly some situations warrant this behavior and it is entirely normal. For someone suffering from a disorder, this excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry does not go away. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety itself as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure”. For those suffering from a disorder, having this feeling never go away only compounds and worsens those initial feelings over time.
This condition is like wearing a winter coat to protect yourself from the cold, only to add more layers as the seasons change. Perhaps by mid summer when you have 4 layers on already and it’s 100 degrees outside, your body simply will not be able to take it and shut down. Many people with a disorder simply cannot leave their bed or house feel the same way. This is how anxiety and depression can go hand in hand with each other.
Anxiety disorders effect roughly 40 million people in the United States, as it’s the most common mental illness in the country. . According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. However, only approximately 37% of people with an anxiety disorders actually receive professional counseling treatment and therapy. Many suffering from this don’t realize it’s an entirely treatable condition that can be solved with something as simple as receiving online counseling from the comfort of their own home.
What causes anxiety disorders?
When discussing anxiety, it is important for people to understand that there is a difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder. The feeling of anxiety can be a normal reaction to certain situations. However, an anxiety disorder, is an excess of anxiety symptoms at times when an anxious response is not needed and beneficial to the individual. An example of healthy anxiety can be blindfolded and being asked to cross a busy street-of course someone would have anxiety as its body is reacting to a dangerous situation, anxiety is an innate response our bodies give off to help keep us safe. Unhealthy or unproductive anxiety is when the brain sends signal that there is danger when there really isn’t any. Anxiety disorders can impair people’s day to day lives and can impact their quality of life.
So where do anxiety disorders come from?
There have been many different studies throughout the years that have pinpointed several consistent factors that can contribute to increasing someone’s chance of having this disorder. While many research institutions do not say there is one single factor, there seems to be consensus that there are multiple key factors.
These factors include:
1) Brain chemistry- areas of your brain that control your fear response may be altered and effected by traumatic experiences such as combat and being a victim of abuse.
2) Heredity/genetics-anxiety can run in families, just like inheriting a specific physical trait from one or both parents, anxiety disorders can also be passed on.
3) Situational/experiential factors- Stressful situations such as losing a job, relationship conflict, or financial stress. Not handling the stress of these situations, or ones like them, in a healthy manner can lead to an anxietydisorder.
Are there different types of anxiety disorders?
The most common type of anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This is generally for people that display excessive anxst or worry most days of the week for 6 months or more.
Other less common anxiety disorders include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Social Phobias or Social Anxiety Disorders.
You may know you are suffering from one of these disorders by experiencing the following anxiety symptoms:
- restlessness, and a feeling of being “on-edge”
- increased irritability
- concentration difficulties
- sick stomach, digestive issues not being able to control your thoughts
- sleep difficulties (problems falling/staying asleep, nightmares)
- not engaging in activities or things that were previously enjoyed
- uncontrollable feelings of fear and worry
- not being able to control your thoughts
What is the most effective way to treat and manage anxiety?
The most effective way to treat and manage this condition is through a combination of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and in more intense cases, medication. Counseling and therapy is a great way to learn about where the anxiety is stemming from in your life and also to learn the many different techniques that can be personalized specifically to you as an individual to decrease the symptoms and stress. Some activities that can be beneficial to reduce anxiety in addition to professional counseling include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Long baths
If you or someone you know is having the symptoms above, it’s a good time to explore help. Anxiety disorders are 100% treatable, but without some sort of profressional treatment they tend to get more severe over time. There is no need to harm yourself further by living with an anxiety disorder. Schedule a free consultation with us today. With the proper counseling & therapy we can offer, you will live a much happier life.