What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a constant feeling of fear, worry, and uncertainty.
Although it is the brain’s way of reacting to stress and its adaptive response to threat, it can be dangerous when these feelings become excessive and involving persistent thoughts and emotions that lead to panic attacks.
Anxiety disorder is the most common of all mental and emotional health issues that affect 1 in 10 people and about 40 million adults between ages 18 and above.
Anxiety, an expected part of life, can be temporary or worse over time, interfering and disrupting your day-to-day activities, performances, and relationships.
These feelings can become obsessive and threatening and even last a long time. They can cause physical, mental, and psychological issues and can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts if left untreated.
Anxiety disorder is alarming when there is;
- Thoughts that are out of proportion
- Constant deterioration in physical, mental, and emotional health.
- Recurrent panic attacks
- Severe physical symptoms
- Abnormal thoughts and beliefs
Types of anxiety disorder
There are different anxiety disorders, ranging from the most common to the most severe.
Phobia occurs when you have an excessive fear of certain conditions, situations, and circumstances. There are 3 distinct fear associated with anxiety disorder.
Agoraphobia: closely related to panic attacks, is an unexpected, intense fear followed by shaking, shortness of breath, hot or cold flashes, lightheadedness, and sometimes jerky movements.
Specific phobia: irrational fear that occurs in the presence of certain objects such as animals, natural environment, situations, and others.
Social phobia: fear of crowds and gatherings or contact with strangers. It usually surfaces in late childhood and early adolescence and can sometimes be severe.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This is the recurrence of inappropriate and intrusive thoughts and ideas that can be persistent and cause distress. It can occur at a young age, but often in adolescence.
Post-traumatic Stress And Acute Stress Disorder
Characterized by symptoms or exhibited after exposure to trauma. Episodes can persist for the short or long term.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Continuous apprehension and worry about major life events such as family, money, relationships, work. People with GAD experience restlessness, muscle tension, insomnia, and almost always expect the worse in every circumstance.
How Does It Feel When You Have An Anxiety?
While anxiety is a normal emotion, sometimes regarded as a healthy one, there is a high possibility of it being a dangerous emotion that can leave you feeling insecure, irrational, and sometimes depressed. It affects people in complex ways with multiple influences. Here are some effects on your health and well-being to look out for.
Anxiety can make it quite challenging to focus. It is also likely that there’ll be traces of forgetfulness.
Fear, worrying, and overthinking will make you doubt yourself and your ability to handle situations
People with anxiety experience bad dreams, their minds do not go to rest, causing them to relive trauma and situations and impossible to get sufficient rest
Weakened immune system
Chronic stress and anxiety lead to a reduced immune system, making it difficult for our body to fight infections
Agitations are sometimes formed out of bad habits. Habits, such as always being on edge and expecting the worse from situations, can become part of our life.
Overthinking and worrying have negative effects on the mind, our brain is overly stressed. This takes a huge toll on the body, leaving us tired all the time.
Physical and muscle tension go together, side by side. This will lead to neck and back pain, headaches, and digestive problems.
Alter Speech Patterns
When you second guess yourself, speaking can be quite difficult without the required self-confidence, stuttering and not speaking freely. Anxiety can also aggravate the symptoms of other mental health conditions.
Recommended: Overcome Your Anxiety With Online Therapy
What Physical Pains Are Caused By Anxiety?
Physical pain is a common presence in depression and anxiety, with almost 70% of patients found suffering from chronic physical pain associated with anxiety. Here are some physical pain symptoms linked to anxiety disorder.
Dull or sharp pain or migraines around the temples of the head, eye, or ear can be felt. Over the inevitable, leaving the mind with too many clustered thoughts and ideas.
Digestive Discomfort and Stomach Pain
Excess gas, constipation, nausea, and vomiting can occur with disruption in the digestive system.
People suffering from the disorder feel lightheaded, unsteady, and dizzy, and have problems with balance. This happens when there is a reduction in blood flow to the brain.
Found in people with chronic anxiety disorder usually starts from pain in joints and leads to joint weakness. Symptoms include strain in joint cartilage and surrounding areas.
Rapid Or Increased Heart Rate
High levels of anxiety can trigger abrupt changes in the body’s response to threats and situations. These changes can sometimes create instability, making it difficult to tell the difference between reality and imagination.
Shortness Of Breath
Hyperventilating is a distressing symptom found in heart attacks, anxiety disorder, and some lung problems. Anxiety can make you feel you are choking and confined in a space. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, feelings of tightening around the neck and chest areas.
Stiffness, strain, and aches around the neck, shoulders, joints, and legs can occur, leading to poor health, reduced resistance to infections, and a range of other problems.
Constant thinking will take its toll on the body, cause the mind and brain to be stressed, and lead to irregular sleep patterns.
Other symptoms of an anxiety disorder include;
- Loss of libido
- Pounding heart
- Increase in blood pressure Panic attacks
How Can I Get Relief From My Anxiety?
Here are a few ways you can get relief from an anxiety disorder.
Stressors are one of the leading causes of anxiety. Taking an inventory of your lifestyle and reducing stressful activities can have a great impact on relieving stress. Activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and other stress relief activities can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
Avoid Alcohol And Nicotine
Many alcoholics believe taking alcohol is a good way to combat obsessive thoughts and worry. However, anxiety symptoms resurface as soon as the alcohol wanes.
Staying away from alcohol and nicotine will improve your health and reduce anxiety.
Regular exercise helps refocus your mind in a natural, effective way by controlling OCD symptoms.
Adopt Healthy Eating Habits
Going too long without eating causes low blood sugar, which can make you feel anxious throughout the day. Eat food rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep increases anxiety. It is easier to keep the mind and body balanced when one is well-rested. Create a regular sleep pattern and stick to it.
Take Care Of Yourself
A healthy lifestyle is necessary for the body to function properly, avoid stressful and negative lifestyle choices and activities. Take care of your mind and soul, create a conscious habit of healthy things that make you happy.
Anxiety can get worse when you feel left out and alone. Join a strong support system, reach out to family and friends who share the same values and goals as you. Do not be scared or shy to ask for help.
Stay Connected To Family And Friends
Surround yourself with positive-minded family and friends, create schedules that help balance work and family life.
How To Prevent An Anxiety Disorder
Focus on healthy choices that make you happy, put your attention on things you have control of, and stop thinking about things you have no control over.
Learn To Recognize And Reduce Stress
Do away with any and everything, bringing you more harm than good. Stay away from people and things that seek to intrude on your peace and self-esteem.
Do not take negative thoughts, words, and ideas at face value. It is insignificant and will only cause more damage. Remember, you are good enough and work on your self-worth.
Write Obsessive Thoughts
Jot down obsessive thoughts on a pad, laptop, or smartphone. This will help figure out the consistency and similarity in thoughts and help narrow down the most important things. Writing can become harder, causing a loss of interest in thoughts.
Speak positive words to yourself, even when no one else does. This will help boost self-esteem and prevent anxiety.
Have a positive outlook on life and stop worrying. You cannot change everything that happens in life.
Put In The Work
Staying healthy mentally and bodily requires a determination on your part to commit to the work. The work involves taking charge of what you allow to get into your minds that can have a negative impact on your overall mental health.
Anxiety manifests more from thoughts, moods, behaviors, and psychological activity than medical conditions. What you do, how you do, and also what you feed your mind can have varying effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Stay positive, seek help when necessary, and avoid negative and harmful lifestyle choices.
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1. Research Gate: Anxiety: Insights into Signs, Symptoms, Etiology, Pathophysiology, and Treatment
2. Core AC UK: Anxiety Disorder and Its Types