It is normal to feel anxious when we are faced with challenging situations. We may feel anxious about a pending dental appointment or upcoming job reviews, and this type of anxiety goes away once the triggering event has passed.
There are other types of anxiety that many people experience that do not fall into the above category. People with an anxiety disorder are almost constantly on edge, and this can affect them in profound ways.1 If left untreated, an anxiety disorder can trigger depression and a multitude of other illnesses. Persistent anxiety elevates blood pressure, and this can lead to strokes or heart attacks. In the most severe cases, people with anxiety disorders may avoid public interaction and become recluses in their own homes.
This type of anxiety can make it difficult for people to function normally. They may struggle to concentrate at work or in educational establishments. Anxiety disorder can play havoc with normal sleeping patterns. Many people who suffer from anxiety disorder are in a constant state of exhaustion because they are unable to get restful sleep.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
The range and severity of symptoms can differ from one individual to the next. Common symptoms include:
- Being in a constant state of worry or tension
- Being unable to function normally at work or school
- Have a persistent and irrational feeling of impending disaster
- Feeling constantly under threat from intangible sources
- Being prone to panic attacks
- Insomnia or disturbed sleep
- Frequent headaches or dizzy spells
- Elevated heart rate
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent sweating
- Pins and needles
- Muscle spasms
In many cases, people who experience physical symptoms like chest pains or pins and needles believe there is some physical disorder that is causing the problem. This can increase the anxiety level.
Treatment for Anxiety
If you think you may be suffering from anxiety disorder, you should first consult your doctor to eliminate the possibility of any physical disorder. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce your anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective at treating many different kinds of disorders, including anxiety disorders.2 CBT helps you to understand your thought processes and how they contribute to your feelings of anxiety. CBT also addresses the behavioral patterns you use in response to these thought processes, and it teaches you how to replace negative responses with positive ones.
Biofeedback therapy is useful in helping you to learn techniques that help you control your stress and anxiety levels. Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to control your thoughts. You can also benefit by joining local support groups. Discussing your problems with others who can relate to your issues is very beneficial.