Experiencing some forms of anxiety, little pangs of apprehensions here and there occur on a daily basis is a normal thing, at least for most people. Anxiety is not really the “death” word we assumed ; in fact, in some situation it can actually be helpful. For example, you are super exhausted and you are not able to walk fast, so you drag your feet on the pavement. Out of sudden, you think you heard a noise from the back, this will raise the anxiety in you and you’ll forget how tired you are – completely energized to get away from that place. Basically, anxiety is also another way our body is alerting us to keep ourselves safe from possible “danger”. It can also be a source of motivation during times like examination, preparing for competitions and completing an assignment that’s due – as feeling anxious about something can actually be the fuel to drive you to get it done.
If Anxiety is not harmful, why is it a disorder?
Anxiety on the scale of 1 to 5 is completely normal, but when it reaches level 6 and above, that is when it becomes unhealthy as it starts to disrupt a person’s normal life. In this level, a person with anxiety no longer feel anxious to the possible ACTUAL danger but they are very responsive to the situations they PERCEIVE as dangerous. This can be triggered by something as simple as getting on public transportation or meeting someone new.
Based on last year’s statistics, approximately 300 million people are suffering from Anxiety disorders – that means 1 out of 13 people are affected by these disorders. United States tops the chart with the highest number – 40 million adults! Despite of living in an era with state-of-the-art medical facilities, only 10 % are receiving proper treatment. The two main reasons of why this is happening because we are either living in denial or just being plain ignorant. Sad isn’t ? But that is the truth and a reality to many of them out there.
Types, causes and symptoms of Anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders can be divided into 6 parts – the most common anxiety disorder is Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This has been regarded as a chronic disorder due to the effect it has on the person who is suffering from it. To begin, a person with GAD experiences an extreme, and long enduring anxiety and worriedness towards things that don’t really matter. The cause of this can only be determined by the person itself and it varies vastly , eg – it can be any kind of stress, emotional trauma, abusive substances like cocaine etc.
A sudden rush of intense terror or uneasiness is categorized as Panic disorder. The person suffering from this will feel physical symptoms such as shaking profusely, nausea, dizziness and difficulty to breath. In some cases, the person can feel really confused with everything around him / her. These attacks can be a brief one, the whole can happen and resolve within couple of minutes but in some cases it can last for hours.
One of the other most common anxiety disorder is Phobia ; bare in mind that this is slightly different from the rest as this occurs with a distinct reason. The fear that one has in this case is usually seemed to be petty matter but this will not be able to stop the person from feeling anxious. The reason for phobia varies as per individual as well – it could be insects, animal, situation or even building. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that motivates one to do something on a continuous mode, despite it being unnecessary – it is more like compulsion. I am sure you’ve came across people who needs to wash their hands after touching everything or having the immense urge to keep everything organized – and not doing these will make them feel anxious.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic experience ; sexual assaults, natural disasters, vehicle accidents etc. This is usually experienced by them who has came across situations that involves death or injury – be it actual or threatened, which results the person to feel the intense moment of weakness, fear, horror or helplessness. Flashbacks and experiencing symptoms that is close to the initial event can trigger anxiety – and chances of a behavioral change. Separation anxiety is felt when the figure of attachment, or the place the person is attached to is drastically or gradually taken away. This is a condition usually experienced by kids below the age of 18 – and kids are usually too clingy to their parents, refuse to leave home for school , refuse to sleep without the parents – etc.
The above mentioned types of anxiety is just tip of the iceberg and I will write about the treatments and the syndromes more detailed in my next blog post as Anxiety can be quite overwhelming, and I would like to find the easiest way to understand this disorder.