Anxiety disorders

Understanding Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders

Work, school, deadlines, relationships, money, and many other things can cause us to feel anxious from time to time. This can show up as chum stomach acid, stress, or some sleepless nights. Yet, this occasional anxiety is different from anxiety disorders.

People who experience anxiety disorders said that repetitive anxiety attacks are awful, vivid, and frightening.

Causes of Anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorders are rarely brought on or caused by just one thing, but rather by a number of interrelated ones. Personality, traumatic experiences, and physical health all play a role, among others.

Heredity, and history of mental health conditions in the family

Anxiety disorders can sometimes run-in families, suggesting that a genetic predisposition may play a role in the development of these conditions in some people. However, just because a parent or other close relative has anxiety or another mental health condition doesn’t mean that you will necessarily develop anxiety.

Personality plays an essential role

Anxiety seems to be more prevalent in people with particular personality traits, according to studies. Anxiety can manifest in children, adolescents, and adults who are perfectionists, easily startled, timid, inhibited, lack self-esteem, or desire to control all aspects of their lives.

Repeatedly stressful events

One or more stressful life events may contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. These events may include:

  • A common cause is a stress at work or a recent job change
  • the change in living place
  • pregnancy, labor, and delivery
  • issues with family and friends
  • severe distress caused by exposure to or experience of something traumatic
  • Negative experiences with authority figures, whether verbal, sexual, physical, or emotional
  • loss of life; the passing of a loved one

Illnesses and physical problems

Chronic physical illness can affect both anxiety disorders and the way they are treated, as well as the physical illness that is causing the anxiety. Common long-term illnesses linked to anxiety disorders include diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and heart disease.

Physical problems, like an overactive thyroid, can show up in ways that are similar to anxiety. Going to the doctor to get checked out in case your anxiety has a physical basis is a good idea.

The Thyroid: A Cause of Anxiety?

Thyroid hormones are made in the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland in the front of the neck. Your metabolism and energy levels rely on these hormones to function properly. Anxiety symptoms like nervousness, irritability, heart palpitations, and sleeplessness can be brought on by an overactive thyroid. Anxiety disorders have also been linked to hypothyroidism (in which the thyroid fails to produce enough of the hormones needed). In addition to anxiety, other symptoms that may indicate a thyroid problem include a swollen neck, difficulty losing weight, weakness, fatigue, or intolerance to heat.

Other mental health conditions

Others may experience multiple anxiety disorders or other mental health conditions, while some people may only experience one. Conditions of depression and anxiety frequently co-occur. All of these issues should be screened for simultaneously, and treatment should begin immediately if any are found.

Drugs and alcohol consumption

In order to cope with their anxiety, some people turn to substances like alcohol or drugs. This could be a factor in some cases where people are diagnosed with both anxiety and drug abuse.

Anxiety disorders can become more severe after drinking or using drugs when the effects of the substance begin to wear off. It’s crucial to look for and treat substance abuse issues simultaneously.

Caffeine consumption

Anxiety and caffeine both cause jitteriness.

Caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Caffeine’s jittery side effects are similar to the ones you feel after experiencing a terrifying event. Caffeine increases your “fight or flight” response, which has been shown to exacerbate anxiety and even bring on an anxiety attack.

While some studies have shown that caffeine can improve focus and memory, others have found that it can actually increase anxiety, especially in those who already suffer from panic attacks or social phobias. Like with anxiety, drinking too much coffee can make you tense and irritable, as well as keep you awake at night.

Some medication

Anxiety symptoms or even anxiety attacks are undesirable side effects of some medications. Be careful with thyroid and asthma medicines, and some people have said that over-the-counter decongestants made them feel anxious. A person’s anxiety levels may spike during withdrawal from benzodiazepines or other drugs that are occasionally used to treat it.

Some weight loss pills or drinks

One common negative effect of many diet pills is increased nervousness. Green tea extracts, which are supposed to make you feel full, are full of caffeine while taking St. John’s wort has been linked to not being able to sleep.

Some over-the-counter (OTC) diet products include guarana, which can have up to four times as much caffeine as coffee beans. And stay away from anything containing ephedra, as it has been linked to elevated heart rate and nervousness. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States made it illegal to sell dietary supplements with ephedra in them.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders

The symptoms of anxiety disorders differ depending on the type. Anxiety disorder symptoms are classified into physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms and include:

physical symptoms:

  • cold and sweaty hands
  • dry tongue and mouth
  • Palpitations in the heart
  • Nausea
  • Hand or foot numbness or tingling
  • Tension in the muscles
  • Breathing difficulty

Mental symptoms:

  • Panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Nightmares
  • Recurring thoughts or flashbacks to traumatic events
  • Obsessive, uncontrollable thoughts

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Inability to remain calm and still
  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeatedly washing one’s hands
  • Sleeping problems or insomnia

Types of anxiety disorder

Types of anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are classified into four main types, as follows:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
  • Panic disorder.
  • Phobias.
  • Separation anxiety.

Anxiety disorders share characteristics with other mental health conditions. Post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are two examples.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

You may experience extreme and unrealistic worry and tension if you have GAD, even if there is nothing to trigger these feelings. Most days, you may be concerned about a variety of issues, including your health, work, school, and relationships. You may have the impression that your anxiety is spreading from one thing to the next.

GAD physical symptoms can include agitation, difficulty concentrating, and sleeping difficulties.

Panic Disorder

When you have a panic disorder, you experience intense, unexpected panic attacks. These attacks are frequently accompanied by stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.

Terror can strike suddenly and unexpectedly, or it can be triggered by an event, such as confronting a feared situation. Panic attacks are similar to heart attacks. Go to the emergency room if you suspect you’re having a heart attack. It’s better to be safe and have a healthcare professional examine you.

You may experience the following symptoms during a panic attack:
  • Sweating.
  • Palpitations in the heart (feeling like your heart is pounding).
  • Chest ache
  • Choking sensation, which may lead you to believe you’re having a heart attack or going insane.

Panic attacks are extremely distressing. People suffering from panic disorder frequently spend a great deal of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that could result in an attack.


Phobias are extreme fears of specific situations or objects. Some of these fears, such as a fear of snakes, may make sense. However, the level of fear frequently does not correspond to the situation.

You may spend a significant amount of time, as with other anxiety disorders, attempting to avoid situations that may trigger the phobia.

A specific phobia, also known as a simple phobia, is an intense fear of a specific object or situation. It may cause you to avoid commonplace situations. Some examples of specific phobias include:

Spiders, dogs, and snakes are examples of animals.

  • Blood.
  • Flying.
  • Heights.
  • Injections (shots).
Social Anxiety

This condition was previously referred to as social phobia by medical professionals. You may experience overwhelming anxiety and self-consciousness in everyday social situations. You may be concerned that others will judge you, or that you will embarrass yourself or expose yourself to ridicule. People suffering from social anxiety disorders may completely avoid social situations.

Separation anxiety

This condition is most common in children and teenagers who are worried about being separated from their parents. Children suffering from separation anxiety disorder may worry that their parents will be hurt in some way or will not return as promised. It occurs frequently in preschoolers.

However, older children and adults who experience a stressful event may also suffer from separation anxiety disorder.

Criteria used to diagnose anxiety disorders

Consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder. They will begin with a thorough medical history and physical examination.

Anxiety disorders cannot be diagnosed using lab tests or scans. However, your doctor may order some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that are causing your symptoms.

Treatment for anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders, like any other health issue, require treatment. You can’t make it go away. It’s not a matter of willpower or attitude. In the last few decades, researchers have made significant progress in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will create a treatment plan that is unique to you. Medication and psychotherapy may be part of your treatment plan.

What medications are used to treat anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders cannot be cured with medication. However, they can alleviate symptoms and help you function better. Anxiety medications frequently include:

Anti-anxiety medications
  • Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may help you feel less anxious, panicked, and worried. They work quickly, but you can become accustomed to them.
  • As a result, they become less effective over time. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for a short period of time and then taper you off, or he or she may add an antidepressant to the mix.
  • Anxiety disorders can benefit from antidepressants as well. They change how your brain processes certain chemicals in order to improve your mood and reduce stress.
  • Be patient as antidepressants may take some time to work. If you think you’re ready to stop taking antidepressants, consult with your doctor first.
  • Beta-blockers, which are commonly used to treat high blood pressure, can help alleviate some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders.
  • They can help with rapid heartbeat, trembling, and shaking.

Your doctor will work with you to determine the best medication combination and dosage. Change the dose only after consulting with your provider. They will monitor you to ensure that the medications are effective without causing negative side effects.

How does psychotherapy help people with anxiety disorders?

Psychotherapy, also known as counseling, assists you in dealing with your emotional reaction to the illness. A mental health professional walks you through strategies for better understanding and managing the disorder. Among the approaches are:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

The most common type of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT for anxiety helps you figure out what kinds of thoughts and actions cause you to feel bad. Then you work on changing them.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy addresses the fears that underpin anxiety disorder. It makes you more likely to do things or go to places you might have avoided before. Your provider may also use relaxation exercises and mental pictures along with exposure therapy.

How to prevent anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders cannot be avoided. However, you can take the following steps to control or reduce your symptoms:

  • Examine medications: Before taking over-the-counter or herbal remedies, consult with a healthcare provider or pharmacist. Some of these contain chemicals that may exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
  • Caffeine consumption should be reduced or eliminated, including coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Exercise on a regular basis and eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
  • Seek help: If you’ve been through something scary or upsetting, talk to a counselor and get support. This can help keep anxiety and other bad feelings from getting in the way of your life.

Resources and References: Scientific Reports, American Psychiatric Association, MedicalNewsToday, healthline, National Institute of Mental Health, Mind.

Mental Health - Mind Detox
Mental Health – Mind Detox






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