Anxiety is the body’s natural, healthy response to perceived threats and danger. It is necessary for adaptation and advancement; however, it can become debilitating if left untreated.
Anxiety is a feeling experienced by every individual at different stages of life. However, it can become a hindering factor leading to disorders when there is an abnormal increase in its levels. Anxiety levels vary from mild, which is normal, to high or excess characterized by intense fear, worry, tension, and restlessness from an unknown source.
Causes of anxiety include temperament, anger, stress, frustration, psychological problems, family history, upbringing, genetics. Excessive anxiety can become debilitating and lead to mental problems or suicidal thoughts.
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Common symptoms of anxiety include palpitations, chest tightening, trembling, shaking, chills, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, muscle tension, pressured speech, startled responses.
There are 11 subtypes of anxiety disorders with 5 of the most common types:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is the most prevalent and extreme anxiety disorder. Its age of onset is childhood and adolescence. It can last for as long as 6 months or more and cause distress in important life aspects such as social, professional, work, relationships. Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include constant reoccurring worry, excessive excitement, sleep disturbances, muscle tension, fatigue.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD includes repeated behaviors (compulsions) connected to intrusive and unwanted thoughts, such as repetitive attitudes and/or, seeking excessive reassurance because of obsessive self-doubt.
Panic disorder is an unexpected, severe anxiety disorder occurring frequently, sometimes weekly or monthly. It is caused by repeated episodes of intense fear from challenging life events or trauma and accompanied by symptoms that include feelings of choking, chest pain, fainting, dizziness, heart palpitations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a state of mind occurring after traumatic events and triggering memories of past events. People suffering from PTSD experience feelings or a sense of re-experiencing the event.
Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder
Social phobia is an anxiety disorder that occurs from late childhood and sometimes throughout the individual’s life when it becomes chronic. It affects your social and occupational functionality and is prevalent in males and females. It is an excessive self-consciousness of social or performance interactions and situations that cause significant distress.
Signs You’re Experiencing A Debilitating Anxiety
Anxiety levels can go from mild to excessive, affecting your mental wellbeing with different symptoms. These symptoms might show in physiological, cognitive, or behavioral patterns. The following are a sign you’re experiencing chronic anxiety disorder may include:
Feelings of dread or fearful anticipation may be normal when it occurs once in a while or in threatening situations but can become a severe anxiety sign when it happens frequently for unknown or unreasonable reasons.
Unexpected tightening around the chest region from intense fear and worry can occur either from a specific phobia or from chronic anxiety.
Anxiety disorders can cause difficulty concentrating and/or focus, inhibiting productivity at work, school, relationships, and other areas in yours. This could also lead to underachievement.
Depersonalization, also known as existentialism, is the loss of personal identity. Debilitating disorders can lead to deprivation of individual qualities, accompanied by strangeness, forgetfulness and loss of reality.
Dizziness, faintness, and lightheadedness may be signs of debilitating anxiety. Vertigo is mostly associated with choking and feeling claustrophobic in panic anxiety disorder.
Increased heart rate and blood pressure can occur in high levels of anxiety or untreated anxiety. Hyperventilation is also associated with dizziness, chest pain and tingling in the fingers and toes.
Feelings of fretfulness, irregular temperamental patterns, snapping at every situation and event, may be signs of debilitating anxiety.
Sweating and trembling
Overthinking and excess fear and self-consciousness can lead to abnormal sweating and trembling with or without known causes.
When Does Anxiety Become Debilitating
Anxiety can become problematic, with severe physical and mental effects. You should seek relief if you suffer from any of the following signs.
Has unknown fear, worry and anxiety affected you so much that you find it difficult to sleep well?. Irregular sleep patterns are one of the many effects of debilitating anxiety.
Persistent worry and / sense of looming danger
Is your mind frequently filled with intrusive thoughts and worries even when there is little or nothing to worry about?. Chronic anxiety has to be proven to create a constant sense of impending danger in individuals suffering from them.
Feeling on edge
Excess restlessness, occasional leg and hand movements, feelings of being keyed up and not fully able to relax are symptoms associated with extreme anxiety.
There may be difficulty controlling the bladder in mild anxiety sometimes, after-all being nervous can disrupt the hormones and body functionality. However, repeated urinary actions that may seem uncontrollable are symptoms to be worried about.
Partial or total memory loss can occur from unnecessary fear and overthinking hindering functionality.
If you are suffering from weakening anxiety, it is likely that you may also experience muscle spasms, impulsiveness, and inability to concentrate.
Individuals with crippling anxiety are prone to obsessive thoughts, ideas, and attitudes. A constant urge to keep doing the same thing or fixing things in a certain way repeatedly.
What Are The Causes Of A Debilitating Anxiety
Excess anxiety can be caused by a series of events, such as
Underlying medical issues
Sometimes, anxiety symptoms are the first symptoms of medical problems such as heart diseases, chronic pain, and drug misuse. Patients with certain medical conditions are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders.
Anxiety can also be a side effect of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Always read prescription leaflets well or seek a doctor’s approval before taking medications.
Stress is a powerful indicator of anxiety. It could be pressure from the workplace, family, friends or personal expectations or even a buildup of some life situations.
Separate or collective mental disorders, such as depression, often occur with anxiety.
People who suffer from abuse, violence, or traumatic events are more than likely to experience debilitating anxiety than others.
Nicotine, Drug, and Alcohol
Many people take drugs and alcohol with the mindset that it will help curb their anxieties – alcohol and substance use only worsens the situation after its effects wane.
Genetics is also a key factor in medical conditions and anxiety. Individuals with family members who have experienced anxiety at one point or the other are likely to suffer from disorders.
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How Can I Get Relief From A Debilitating Anxiety
Treatment for anxiety varies from medications to therapeutic methods.
This involves understanding and changing your thinking and behavior patterns.
This includes gradually exposing yourself to feared situations such as social phobia, to reduce fear and anxiety response.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Practicing acceptance and mindfulness with strategies that involve living in the moment, without criticism, and developing clarity about values.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
This is creating therapy for individuals and groups to learn mindfulness, skills for interpersonal effectiveness, and regulating emotions.
Learn about yourself
Study yourself, your attitudes, values, and principles. Learn what makes you happy, what creates unnecessary doubts and stress for you and stick to what improves your growth and performance.
Practice Relaxation Technique
Simple habits such as yoga, mindfulness, a walk through nature, meditation, book clubs, amongst others, will help reduce stress and combat anxiety. Find what interests and works best for you, incorporate it into your daily routine, and be consistent with it.
There is really no point in evaluating and reevaluating every event and scenario, it can get tasked with your mind and mental well-being. try to relax, plan on things you want to and can do, take it one step at a time, and reduce the burden on your mind.
Eat right and exercise
Healthy eating and regular exercises will not only improve your physical and medical health but also help promote mental well-being.
Keep a journal
Write obsessive and intrusive thoughts to check their frequency and help narrow down the problem. This will improve concentration and focus.
Manage Negative Thoughts
Learn a skill, read a book, watch a movie, practice healthy relaxation habits to reduce negative thoughts. Surround yourself with positivity, happy thoughts, and achievable goals. Work on your self-esteem,
Anxiety might seem like a normal reaction, which it is sometimes and might often get overlooked. However, levels of anxiety can worsen, debilitate and cause damaging effects on your psychological and physical well-being and other areas of your life.
This may lead to inhibiting performance at home, relationships, and academics. It could also have adverse effects if left untreated.
Preventing anxiety disorders is possible but requires time, awareness, and consistency accompanied by cognitive skills, affirmations, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques.