Chronic Anxiety 101

It is normal for people to worry about past, present or expected events in their lives.

Anxiousness may be positive or negative, for example, you may feel jittery before facing a panel of interviewers, or before taking decisions about crucial matters in your job, relationship or business. Anxiety is simply an emotion categorized with acts of nervousness such as murmuring, complaining excessively, pacing back and forth or thinking about things existing only in the mind but will, most likely, not happen after all.

Anxiety is often misconstrued as fear. This is wrong although sufferers tend to withdraw from situations that may have caused them pain, loss or disappointment in the past. Anyone facing anxiety problems may feel uneasy around strangers or in social gatherings, to the point that stress hormones in their body systems may cause stomach upset, vomiting or other physical symptoms.

Anxiety is often used interchangeably with panic disorder, and is a common occurrence in people who have an Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD), a reason it is—most times—referred to as “chronic anxiety disorder.

Medical experts say anxiety can be a short or long-term health condition. It can be termed a health challenge when characterized by strong feelings of fear and worry—in which case it becomes some kind of mental disorder. There are different kinds of anxiety disorder and it is common to find people with more than one.

Some forms of anxiety disorder are life-threatening. At some point in their lives, people diagnosed of chronic anxiety disorder feel overwhelmed and eventually unable to carry on with their daily life activities and this health condition can lead to suicide if treatment is not taken at the right time and from experienced professionals.

Here’s a brief explanation on the different conditions:

  • Panic disorder: People experiencing this type of chronic anxiety disorder suddenly feel terrified, for example, when they hear a loud noise or suspect someone was about to harm them, especially when alone, in the dark, or walking on lonely paths. The symptoms include excessive sweating, increased or irregular heartbeats, chest pain, and a heart attack. During panic periods, some sufferers may feel they’re choking and are susceptible to stroke and sudden death.
  • Specific phobias: This refer to having strong fear about some situations or objects. For example, people suffering this type of chronic anxiety disorder may hate boarding airplanes or looking out from windows in high-rise buildings because of their fear of heights. This fear is considered weird by most people but sufferers feel at ease only by avoiding situations that appear ordinary to others.
  • Social anxiety disorder: Also known as “social phobia,” anyone suffering from this illness tends to worry about interactions with people (strangers, colleagues, friends and even family members). Sufferers often pay unnecessary attention to their appearance or what people think about them, with self-negating attitude towards their body, height, colour etc. Both rich and poor persons in this health condition, most times, hate people ridiculing, embarrassing or passing judgements on them.

Chronic anxiety disorder is characterized by unrealistic worry. When people feel excessive tension for little or no reason at all, they find it difficult to be happy or stay focused—a situation which affects the overall quality of their lives. It has temporary and permanent cure. Although chronic anxiety is synonymous with illness, its impact is felt mostly in your thoughts and mind.

Mental and Physical Symptoms

All forms of anxiety disorder share general indicators such as:

  • Inability to stay still and calm
  • Sleeplessness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Uneasiness, fear and panic
  • Cold, itchy or sweaty hands and feet
  • Increased or irregular heartbeats
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tense muscles
  • Chest pain
  • Fear of being hurt, disappointed or rejected
  • Worrying about worst case scenario
  • Vomiting

Chronic anxiety disorder can be defined as someone worrying about their own anxiety. Depending the type or level of your health challenge (moderate or severe), you may have experienced some of the symptoms listed.

Cause of anxiety disorders

Medical experts and researchers have been unable to discover the root cause of chronic anxiety disorders. Conclusions from studies, however, relate the illness to mental disorder which they claim is caused by relationships between elements in the human body system. In order words, chronic anxiety disorder may result from a combination of things such as your genetic makeup, brain functions, and stress from the environment. Researchers say it is linked to some “faulty circuits” in an individual’s brain which makes the human mind unable to control response to fear, emotions and high-impact situations in their lives.

Diagnosis

A problem shared is half-solved, they always say. After identifying some symptoms of chronic anxiety disorder, the best approach is to consult your doctor or any available medical practitioner with proven experience in the field. Together with your medical history, the doctor may need to run more tests to confirm that those symptoms are not connected to other illnesses.

Enrolling for therapies can improve your life. Unfortunately, medical tests have been unable to specifically identify symptoms caused by anxiety disorders—a situation which often results in referrals to more experienced psychologists, psychiatrists or other specialists in mental health management. Series of doctor-patient interaction will include some question and answer sessions and application of test tools to verify the intensity of your symptoms and how they may be altering your daily life activities.

Treatments

People suffering chronic anxiety disorder cannot get cure without taking treatments or getting support from health experts. Your thought pattern changes. Negativity eventually sets in thereby making you hyper-sensitive to situations, things and people around you which may not present real threats to your life.

Chronic anxiety disorder worsens when treatment is neglected for a long time and this makes it hard to cure unless with effective strategies and commitment on your part. The truth is: there is nothing like “a quick fix” for such sufferers. Some of the common anxiety disorder management strategies are:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Herbs
  • Exercise

To effectively manage your chronic anxiety disorder, health experts suggest that:

  1. You should make getting good rest a priority.
  2. You should eat right and exercise more often.
  3. You should cut down on caffeinated drinks and foods as well as mood-changing drugs.
  4. You should consult your doctor or pharmacist for the right drugs instead of buying over-the-counter medicines or herbal products.

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