Everything You Need to Know About Anxiety

Anxiety Disorders, mental health, therapy, counselling, rediscover psych, edmonton alberta

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. It can affect how we think and act. It often comes with physical symptoms, like a racing heart or knots in your stomach. Anxiety can be either situational, caused by something going on in your life, or generalized, with no clear cause. It is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another. In fact, it is an important survival mechanism that has helped humans for many years. However, when anxiety becomes excessive or unreasonable and starts negatively influencing your daily life, it may be considered an anxiety disorder. 
 

What Are Anxiety Disorders?
 

An anxiety disorder is a form of mental illness that involves feelings of extreme fear and anxiety that seem to have no real reason. While a certain amount of anxiety is normal, people with anxiety disorders have an overwhelming and unrealistic worry about everything. Their fear and anxiety make their everyday routine difficult and sometimes impossible. It's natural to feel worried in certain situations. If you have to deal with a work issue, go to an interview, or speak in front of a crowd, you may feel nervous. When you have an exam coming up, if you have to give a speech or don't know what to wear for a date, you might feel anxious. For most people, these feelings are short-lived, and they can cope with the situation without too much difficulty. Anxiety disorder is different because the anxiety attacks are frequent, unexpected, and cause much distress. It's hard to know when an anxiety attack will strike and what makes it stop. This makes it difficult to lead a normal, healthy life because your day can change instantly.
 

Types of Anxiety Disorders

 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) lists several types of anxiety disorders, including:
 

1) Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):

People with this disorder feel worried and on edge almost all the time. They can't control their worries, and they often worry about something bad happening, even though there is no specific reason for their anxiety.


2) Panic Disorder:

A person with this disorder has panic attacks that can come out of nowhere. They can also have a constant fear of having another panic attack, even when they're not having one at the moment.


3) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

People who have this disorder have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of a traumatic event that happened to them or to someone they knew. They may also avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event.


4) Social Anxiety Disorder:

People with this disorder are extremely self-conscious in everyday social situations. They worry that their anxiety will be noticeable to other people, and they feel embarrassed or humiliated by their symptoms.


5) Specific phobias:

These are the most common anxiety disorders. People with phobias have extreme and irrational fears about certain things or situations. They're not just afraid – they're terrified. The fear often leads to an immediate desire to avoid the feared subject.


6) Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD):

People with this disorder have thoughts that won't go away, called obsessions. They also repeat behaviours, like hand washing or locking and unlocking the door, called compulsions. The thoughts and rituals become so intense that they interfere with daily living. Anxiety attacks can also occur in several other mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and personality disorders.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

 

It can be difficult to understand what someone is feeling when dealing with an anxiety disorder. While everyone experiences fear and worry, people with anxiety disorders experience intense panic attacks. They may also feel stressed or scared when there isn't anything to be afraid of. The symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
 

  • A constant, intense worry about some events or activities in your everyday life

  • Frequent feelings of panic, fear, or uneasiness

  • A constant need to be on guard for any dangers

  • Feeling restless and irritable all the time.

  • Frequent muscle tension and discomfort

  • Problems concentrating, sleeping, or relaxing.

  • Feeling like anything might set off a panic attack.

  • Avoiding triggers or places and activities that make you feel anxious. The more you avoid them, the less likely it is that you'll be able to cope with them when you run into them.

  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide, especially if the anxiety paralyzes you to the point where you can't live your everyday life.


People with anxiety disorders are more likely to have other mental illnesses, physical illnesses, and substance abuse problems.


Getting Help for an Anxiety Disorder

 

Anxiety is treatable, although it can be difficult to overcome some symptoms without help. If you have an anxiety disorder, the most important thing to do is to educate yourself about your illness. You can't prevent it or change it, but knowing about it can help you understand how to cope with your symptoms.

The best treatment for anxiety disorders is a combination of medications and therapies. Medications can effectively treat some anxiety disorders on their own, but therapy is also important for learning how to manage your symptoms.


Possible Treatment Options

There are many different treatments available for anxiety disorders, and the best treatment for you will depend on your individual needs. Treatment options include:


1) Psychotherapy:

This type of therapy helps you understand the thoughts and behaviours that contribute to your anxiety. You'll learn how to cope with your symptoms and manage your anxiety in everyday life. The two main types of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure therapy.


a) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

This type of therapy helps you change the behaviours that contribute to your anxiety. It can help you learn how to deal with difficult emotions and situations without feeling panicked or scared. The therapist will encourage you to face whatever makes you anxious so that your fear gradually fades away. For some people, this therapy is very effective on its own.


b) Exposure Therapy:

This type of therapy helps you gradually face the situations that trigger your anxiety and fear. You'll work with your therapist to develop a plan for how to stay in the situation despite your anxiety. Sometimes this therapy is combined with relaxation exercises to help you stay calm.


2) Medication:

There are many different medications available for treating anxiety disorders. Some medications can be effective on their own, while others work best when combined with therapy.

Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat your anxiety symptoms. Medications for anxiety disorders are generally safe but carefully follow all dosing instructions.


3) Natural remedies:

Some people find relief from anxiety by taking herbal supplements or other "natural" remedies. These remedies are less likely to cause side effects than medications, but they can also be less effective. The best way to use natural remedies is to add therapy and medication.


4) Self-help:

You don't need a doctor's diagnosis to start getting help for your anxiety. You can find a lot of information and resources that will help you understand and manage your symptoms independently.


Final Thoughts
 

Whenever you try a new therapy or treatment, make sure to let your doctor know what's working and what's not. You can also ask for a referral to a therapist or support group if you feel like you need more help or support. When starting treatment for anxiety, it's important to be patient with yourself and avoid self-judgment. You can't expect to overcome your anxiety overnight, so try not to become discouraged if you don't see results right away. Finally, remember that you aren't alone in this millions of people experience anxiety disorders, and many get treatment for their symptoms. We hope that this article has given you some helpful information about anxiety, its causes and effects, ways to treat it, and tips on managing your symptoms. Thank you for reading!

Check out our experienced therapists at ReDiscover who can help you manage your anxiety!