ANXIETY

Imagine taking a comprehensive exam that determines your future. Or giving a speech to an audience of thousands. Or seeing a special guy/girl approach you for the first time. Pretty nerve-wracking, right? Don’t worry if you said yes. Even the bravest people face moments of deep fear, and everyone faces a little anxiety here and there. However, it is an unfortunate reality that some of us experience a more constant fear – often for reasons that shouldn’t warrant much anxiety at all. 


Described below are brief descriptions of three major anxiety disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder. For your benefit, we’ve added links to sites that contain more detailed info and/or relevant articles. As we’ve stressed consistently throughout the site, if you think you or someone you know is experiencing an anxiety disorder or any mental illness, please seek help.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
 

Causes
GAD is characterized by an incessant, uncontrollable fear for future events, most of which should cause very little to no anxiety to begin with. Some have described it as playing multiple hypothetical situations in your head, most of which are negative, and then worrying constantly about them to the point of disrupting daily life. The precise mechanisms behind this condition are not fully understood, but factors that can aggravate or trigger GAD include:

  1. Consistent exposure to stressful situations without any effort to control the associated anxiety (this will only allow it to grow and get worse!)

  2. Hormonal/neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain

  3. Genetics/family history of GAD - It has been documented that women are much more susceptible to developing GAD

  4. Substance abuse

  5. Traumatic event/physical abuse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symptoms (many of these tend to arise gradually)

  1. Excessive worry regarding health, academics, finances, family affairs, and other essential life components

  2. Feeling “on edge” and unable to relax

  3. Difficulty concentrating due to the inability to let go of certain fears/worries

  4. Physical symptoms: headaches, muscle stiffness, nausea, fatigue

  5. It has also been noted that those suffering from GAD are consciously aware that their concerns can be unreasonable; however, they also express an inability to seek help due to the potential consequences that speaking up about their illness could have on their relationships


Potential treatment options

  1. Psychotherapy

  2. Medication

  3. Getting educated on the condition itself

  4. Joining self-help or support group programs

  5. Dietary and lifestyle changes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources/Links we utilized

  1. Mayo Clinic

  2. Healthline

  3. National Institute of Mental Health

  4. WebMD

  5. Bustle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Anxiety Disorder

 

Causes

Far worse than your common case of shyness is social anxiety disorder, which is characterized by an individual’s debilitating fear of social situations. People dealing with social anxiety disorder are characterized by a  fear of embarrassment in public that prevents them from experiencing social situations like others. Like many other mental health conditions, the precise cause behind social anxiety disorder is not yet fully understood. Still, some potential causes include:

  1. An overactive structure in the brain known as the amygdala. This portion of the brain is responsible for controlling one’s response to fear, and if overactive, can cause social situations to seem more intimidating and frightening than they should.

  2. Influence of others

    • Social anxiety disorder can also be a learned disorder. Watching others with the condition and how they respond to social situations can instill that same fear in the observer.

  3. Particularly humiliating experiences

    • The condition can also be an acquired disorder. After a particularly humiliating experience, an individual can gravitate towards the mindset exhibited by someone with social anxiety disorder.

  4. Genetics/family history

 

Symptoms

  1. Excessively thinking about how social situations can go wrong

  2. Inability to community effectively because of this notion of fright in the back of one’s mind

  3. Trembling/shaky demeanor, sweaty palms, an elevated heartbeat, nausea, and/or diarrhea in social situations

  4. Overanalyzing social situations and any embarrassing mistakes one has made

  5. Taking all precautions necessary to avoid social interaction as much as possible

Potential treatment options

  1. Psychotherapy

  2. Medication

  3. Getting educated on the condition itself

  4. Joining self-help or support group programs

  5. Dietary and lifestyle changes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources/Links we utilized

  1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  2. WebMD

  3. Social Anxiety Association

  4. Mayo Clinic

  5. National Institute of Mental Health

  6. HelpGuide

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panic Disorder

Causes

Panic disorder can be characterized as sudden bouts of extreme nervousness and fear during situations that usually aren’t threatening. Since these panic attacks generally occur out of the blue, those suffering from the illness can even tend to develop anxiety regarding the upcoming panic attacks themselves (known as anticipatory anxiety). Although random, many different factors can trigger or aggravate panic attacks, including:

  1. A sudden sensation that an individual is facing a threat of some sort, triggering a heightened fear response.

  2. Genetics/family history

    • Women are almost twice as susceptible as men

  3. Overactive structures of the brain, such as the amygdala, which is responsible for controlling fear response.

  4. Difficult life situations such as a demanding job or poor financial status can aggravate one’s stress levels, making them more susceptible to panic attacks.

  5.  Traumatic events, such as physical abuse or the loss of a loved one can also trigger panic attacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symptoms

  1. Repetitive attacks of heightened fear

  2. No sense of control or stability during the attack

  3. A never-ending fear of the next approaching attack

  4. A tendency to avoid places where panic attacks have occurred

  5. Physical symptoms that occur during attacks can include elevated heart-rate, chest pain, nausea, breaking into a sweat, shortness of breath, trembling/shaky demeanor, dizziness, chills and hot flashes, and/or a sensation of numbness

 

Potential treatment options

  1. Psychotherapy

  2. Medication

  3. Getting educated on the condition itself

  4. Joining self-help or support group programs

  5. Dietary and lifestyle changes

    • Avoid smoking and caffeine

    • Practice relaxation techniques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources/Links we utilized

  1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  2. WebMD

  3. American Psychological Association

  4. National Institute of Mental Health

  5. HelpGuide

  6. MedlinePlus

Credit: Crash Course Psychology
Credit: Beating Anxiety
Credit: Beating Anxiety
Credit: Mental Health Channel.tv
Credit: Khan Academy

© 2019 by MannMukti