Anxiety is a natural human emotion responsible for alerting us to dangerous situations.
Although, it is our body’s natural response to stress when in excess can cause a category of mental health conditions that sometimes have detrimental effects on your health and well-being. These excesses are known as anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorder is the most common type of mental health disorder diagnosed in individuals of various age groups, most common in children and adolescents.
People with anxiety constantly deal with apprehensiveness, vulnerability, fear, and worry, which is usually accompanied by symptoms such as headaches, loss of appetite, stomach upsets, muscle aches, excess sweat.
Their minds are on the edge, at high alert for no specific reason, and often accompanied by restlessness. Everything seems intimidating, overwhelming, and exhausting. They are also hypersensitive to every smell, sound, sight, taste, and texture around them.
Related: How To Overcome Anxiety And Start Living Life Again
Types Of Anxiety Disorders
There are 8 types of anxiety disorder which range from simple to severe.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAD is characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry about life issues such as health, family, work, school. People suffering from GAD experience symptoms that cause feelings of self-harm.
Panic Disorder With Or Without Agoraphobia
These include symptoms such as feelings of being in confined spaces, choking, and cardiac arrests.
A component of specific anxiety that makes patients develop apprehensiveness and fear of being in place sir situations that may embarrass and be difficult to get away from.
This is a feeling of intense, irrational fear of particular objects or situations such as fear of water, heights, darkness, closed spaces.
A type of anxiety disorder that causes strong, persistent fear of social gatherings, whether large or small. Others will often examine and negatively judge individuals suffering from fear.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
People suffering from OCD have constant, unwanted thoughts and ideas that become obsessive and intrusive to personal health and wellness.
Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic-Stress occurs because of trauma, either past or current, such as death, accidents, setbacks, loss of property.
Co-occurring Mental Health Problems
The occurrence of one or more anxiety disorders at the same time.
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Causes Of Anxiety
Anxiety is caused by a series of events that may be personal, emotional, mental, medical, and even psychological. Here are some of its causes:
- Difficulties at home, school, or work.
- Drug misuse and abuse.
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Low self-esteem
- Negative thinking
- Side effects of medications
- Underlying medical conditions
- Physical and/or emotional abuse
Related: How Does Anxiety Differ From Stress?
Research Statistics On Anxiety
Anxiety, an unpleasant emotion, has various antecedents and consequences. It begins during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood and has consequences that depend on how individuals deal with anxiety and can be positive or negative.
Positive adaptations improve personal, physical, and mental development, while negative behaviors increase anxiety and develop into disorders. These disorders lead to mental health dysfunction and impairment, such as depression, suicide, and self-harm.
Anxiety disorders are widespread and affect anyone regardless of age or gender, with adolescents and women having a higher percentage. Low income, unemployment, low education, and being single have proven to be prevalent in anxiety disorders. Individuals between ages 10 and 25 are at the highest risk of developing anxiety disorders.
Social Anxiety is mostly found in children and adolescents, while Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most diagnosed in women and young people. GAD occurs more frequently in females than their male counterparts. Stressed women are prone to depression than stressed men.
Individuals suffering from GAD are more likely to have genetics or family members with anxiety problems. Generalized Anxiety Disorder increases alongside age advancement. Drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and depressive episodes mostly co-exist with disorders.
What Factors Cause The Rise Of Anxiety Disorder Today?
A lot of research has been done on the current rise of anxiety, but unfortunately, there is no exact reason for its increase today. However, it can be said that many people are being more open about their mental health and the factors contributing to its development. Some factors responsible for anxiety disorder include;
The Rise of Social Media
Researchers have found a strong link between heavy social media use and an increased risk of anxiety. Not knowing how to relate to social media places a significant risk on your mental health.
The primary intention of the creators is to generate ad revenues while providing a place to socialize for the users.
Social media has been found to play a major role in the rise of anxiety disorder cases all over the world. There is so much on the internet that can have positive and negative effects on us depending on our choices. Most individuals want to live the glamorous life no matter the cost and end up feeling bad, guilty, or not good enough when that does not happen.
Genes are crucial in a person’s development, passed from one generation or family member to the other. Individuals may learn adaptive responses from parents and relations, therefore it is very possible for one to develop symptoms when one or more family members suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Certain natures, attitudes, and behaviors, to an extent, affect our outlook and reactions to life’s events and situations. Nowadays, there is more emphasis on the concept of success, varying for individuals and their reactions to difficulties, progress and setbacks in different aspects of life. There is a higher rate of trying to be like others, comparing oneself, and dealing with criticism, experiencing psychological problems of anger, stress, and frustration.
Regardless of the age group, gender or social status, everyone gets stressed in life.
A lot of exertion, mental, physical, or creative, is put into achieving our daily routines and life goals like acquiring education, learning a skill, or carrying out household chores.
Humans daily endeavors come with lots of pressure that causes stress and anxiety. This impedes growth and productivity. Other factors may include:
- Pressure in personal relationships from high expectations
- Trauma and/or financial stress
- Political and global issues
- The rise in natural and/or world pandemic
Related: How Does Anxiety Impacts Learning?
What Age Group Are Most Affected By Anxiety Disorder And Why?
There are inconsistent findings on why certain age groups are at a higher risk than others. Regardless, studies show that age groups affected by anxiety disorder depend on the disorder and type, although its median onset is 20 years and also most frequently from adolescence to young adulthood.
Older adults have been reported to worry less than younger adults and experience anxiety disorder differently. Ages 15 and lower are more likely to have specific social and separation disorders, while 21 – 34 years suffer from agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress, panic, and generalized anxiety disorders.
How Can Anxiety Disorder Be Avoided?
Anxiety itself can not be avoided, however, its disorders can be controlled with these simple steps.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Avoid anything likely to have negative effects on your life. Eat a balanced diet exercise regularly, meditate.
Always examine medications well or seek a doctor’s counsel before using them. Some medications can worsen the symptoms of anxiety.
Take time out
Always create time for yourself to relax and detox from all the stress and pressure. A 20-minute a day or more will go a long way in replenishing the mind.
Coffee, alcohol, and drugs do more harm than good to the body, reduce caffeine intake to avoid and control anxiety disorders.
Surround yourself with family and friends, cheerful people. Negative thoughts, ideas from oneself and people can affect the body and mind.
How To Get Relief From Anxiety Disorder
Join support groups
Many people are now outspoken about anxiety and so many other issues affecting our medical and mental health. Check out the various support groups available and get involved in the one that is incorporated into your schedule.
Explore stress management
Daily mediation, yoga, and mindfulness have proven to be good stress management options. Doing each of these daily will improve mental health and anxiety disorders.
Over-worrying will only make anxiety worse. Remember, you don’t always have control over all that happens in our lives. Try as much as possible to stop overthinking every choice, decision, and event in your life.
Take care of your mind and body
Live, eat and work healthily, seek only people and things that will have a positive impact on you, and stay away from those with negative effects. Have a positive outlook on life.
Anxiety is natural for every individual, while anxiety disorders are the effects of making anxiety the basis of our thoughts and actions. They mostly arise from behaviors that have negative effects on our physical, mental, emotional, and psychological health.
These disorders can be treated and may become fatal if left for too long. There are cases where people are found to be living with lifetime anxiety disorders.
Follow preventive methods to help control anxiety and seek immediate help when diagnosed with anxiety disorders, help friends and families living with anxiety disorders.
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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