Mental Disorder : Anxiety

Introduction

Anxiety is a very common unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension, which we all have experienced in our life. Experiencing anxiety is very normal. Very few of us go through even a week of our lives without experiencing some anxiety or fear. In fact it would be abnormal never to feel fear.
The anxiety that mentally healthy people experience is usually brief. It is in response to certain situations. But when anxiety is long lasting about matters that do not warrant such a high level of concern, it becomes a matter of concern.

 

Symptoms
Individuals with anxiety disorder are persistently anxious. Chronic, uncontrollable, excessive worry about all manner of things is the hallmark of anxiety disorder. They have difficulty in concentrating and decision-making. They experience sleep disturbances, sustained muscle tension and excessive sweating. Impatience, irritability and angry outbursts are also common in such individuals.

A number of physical complaints are also observed like: sweating, flushing, pounding heart, abdominal upsets, diarrhea, frequent urination, cold, clammy hands, dry mouth, a lump in the throat and shortness of breath. All these symptoms are quite frequent and reflect hyperactivity of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Individuals experiencing anxiety are easily startled and they are very fidgety and restless. The state of mind of such people is generally apprehensive. They often imagine and worry about impending setbacks. They imagine things like having health problems or their loved one has had an accident.

 

CausesA person's genetics, biochemistry, environment and psychology all seem to contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. The onset of anxiety is usually because of stressful events. Most people with these disorders seem to have a biological vulnerability to stress.
Prevalence of anxiety in women is more than in men.
There are various theories that propagate different causes of anxiety.
Psychoanalysts suggest that anxiety stems from unconscious conflicts. Individuals may experience impulses, which are not expressed as they may lead to punishment. And since the source of the anxiety is unconscious, the person experiences apprehension and distress without knowing the reason.

Some theorists believe that anxiety is a learned behavior. Observing fearful behaviours of others and in an attempt to model them usually children learn anxiety reactions.

Studies show that biochemical imbalances can also lead to anxiety disorders. Moreover, individuals can inherit a biological susceptibility to anxiety disorders. Events in childhood may lead to certain fears that develop into a full-blown anxiety disorder over a period of time. Studies show that anxiety disorders run in families.

 

Treatment
Continuous research has helped to learn more about the biological, psychological and social factors of anxiety disorders.
Many people with anxiety disorders have found a difference with treatment. The treatment aims to lift repression and uncover the unconscious conflicts responsible for anxiety.

Therapy for anxiety disorders often involves medication and/or specific forms of psychotherapy. Though medication does not fully cure anxiety, it is very effective in relieving anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety patients usually find relief with mild tranquilizers. But it does not help in modifying their basic life style. On the other hand, psychotherapy enables the affected persons to discriminate between real and imagined fears. It helps them to learn effective methods of coping with stressful situations.

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