Anxiety is a prevalent and normal emotion that everyone occasionally experiences. It is a feeling of nervousness, fear, or worry about something that is uncertain or threatening. Anxiety can help you cope with challenging situations, such as taking a test, giving a speech, or facing a problem. However, sometimes anxiety can become too intense, frequent, or persistent, and interfere with your daily life. This is when it can be termed as a disorder.
Anxiety disorder refers to a mental health condition characterized by excessive feelings of fear and worry which translates to physical symptoms.
There are a number of anxiety disorders, they include:-
- Panic disorder,
- Social anxiety disorder,
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder,
- Separation anxiety disorder and
- Illness anxiety disorder
Symptoms Of Anxiety
These symptoms vary from person to person and manifest differently according to the type of anxiety disorder the subject has.
The following are a cross-section of the symptoms:-
- Excessive worry or fear.
- Restlessness or feeling on edge.
- Rapid heart rate or palpitations.
- Sweating and trembling.
- Muscle tension.
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
- Trouble sleeping or experiencing fatigue.
- Nausea or stomach discomfort.
- Avoidance of anxiety-triggering situations.
- Panic attacks (sudden and intense episodes of fear or discomfort).
Causes Of Anxiety
There are many possible causes for anxiety. Let us consider a few factors that are well-known triggers for anxiety.
- Genetics: A family history of anxiety disorders can increase an individual’s susceptibility to anxiety.
- Brain Chemistry: Imbalances in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin and dopamine can play a role in anxiety disorders.
- Personality: Certain personality traits, such as being perfectionistic, overly self-critical, or prone to negative thinking, can make someone more susceptible to anxiety.
- Trauma: Experiencing trauma, such as physical or emotional abuse, can increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
- Stress Build-up: Persistent or excessive stress, especially in early life, can contribute to the development of anxiety.
- Physical Health: Chronic medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, or the use of certain medications can be associated with anxiety symptoms.
- Substance Abuse: Alcohol or drug abuse can trigger or exacerbate anxiety disorders.
- Environmental Factors: High-stress environments or life events, such as major life changes, can trigger anxiety.
- Neurobiological Factors: Abnormalities in brain structure or function can be linked to anxiety disorders.
- Phobias: Specific phobias may develop as a result of a traumatic or fear-inducing experience.
These factors may interact with each other and with environmental influences to cause anxiety disorders in different people. It is important to note that anxiety disorders are not caused by personal weakness, character flaws, or poor upbringing. They are real and treatable medical conditions that can affect anyone.
These refer to the sensation of rapid, irregular, or strong heartbeats. People experiencing heart palpitations may feel that their heart is beating too quickly, too slowly, fluttering, skipping beats, or pounding forcefully.
While palpitations can be caused by various factors, including stress, anxiety, caffeine, or certain medications, they can also be a sign of an underlying heart condition. This is a major symptom of Anxiety. They are alarming and oftentimes depict a more sinister condition.
The methods below can help stop or at best manage heart palpitations that arise from Anxiety:-
- Relaxation techniques: Stress and anxiety can worsen palpitations, so it is important to relax your mind and body. You can practice deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other relaxation techniques that work for you. With these methods, one can lower their heart rate and calm their nervous system.
- Vagal maneuvers: The vagus nerve connects your brain to your heart and can help regulate your heartbeat. You can stimulate the vagus nerve by doing certain actions, such as holding your breath, coughing, gagging, bearing down, or splashing cold water on your face. These actions can slow down your heart rate and stop palpitations. Your medical provider must be informed before using this method and it must be practiced while lying down.
- Hydration: Dehydration can make your blood thicker and harder for your heart to pump. This can cause an increase in heart rate and palpitations. Drinking enough water can help prevent dehydration and keep your blood flow smooth. Avoid or limit caffeine intake or any other stimulants, as they encourage dehydration.
- Medication: If your anxiety and palpitations are severe or interfere with your daily life, you may need medication to treat them. Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, beta-blockers, or other medications that can help reduce anxiety and regulate your heartbeat. All Doctors’ orders must be adhered to and if any side effects arise, inform them as well.
In conclusion, persons with anxiety must determine the type they have in order to seek appropriate management or treatment measures. All medication of clinical advice prescribed by a medical professional must be followed to the letter. Persons with anxiety can lead a normal life, provided these steps are followed.