Hours before your final papers and you realize you’ve been studying the wrong…
First day at your first job and you have no idea of how of what to do at work…
24 hours before your wedding and you develop cold feet…
Been in any of the above scenarios? It’s understandable to have worries about how you will perform, or how major decisions may turn out. You may find it hard to sleep, eat or focus on tasks. This usually lasts just for a short while. We all know what it’s like to feel anxious from time to time. It’s quite normal to be nervous and perhaps frightened at the thought of a stressful event or major decision you’re facing — especially if it could have a big impact on your life. Anxiety is related to the ‘fight or flight’ response — our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened.
Anxiety is quite normal, however, when it takes the best of you frequently and strains your relationship between self and environment then may be experiencing the Anxiety Disorder.
Possible Causes of Anxiety Disorder
Life is full of potential stressful events. Thus, it is quite normal to feel anxious about everyday things. A single trigger or event may raise anxiety levels; however, it could be a number of things that increase anxiety levels. This includes but is not limited to exams, work deadlines, our disposition, going on a first date or whether we feel safe travelling home late at night.
Feelings of anxiety vary according to what you’re worried about and how you act when you feel apprehensive; which is dependent on lots of things such as:
- Your genes
- How you were brought up
- What’s happened to you in your life
- The way you learn and cope with things
Symptoms vary depending on the specific anxiety disorder, as there are various forms. Some experience primarily psychological and emotional symptoms, while others may experience a range of physical effects. Anxiety can feel different for different people, thus, you might also experience other kinds of feelings, which aren’t listed here.
Psychological Effects Of Anxiety
- An overwhelming sense of fearful anticipation
- Constant worrying
- Heightened alertness and a tendency to ‘catastrophise’
- Sleep disorders
- Constantly feeling tense, nervous and on edge
- Having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst
- Feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down.
- Feeling like other people can sense your anxiety
- Feeling your mind is really busy with thoughts
- Dwelling on negative experiences, or brooding over issues (this is called rumination)
- Feeling restless and not being able to concentrate
- Feeling numb
- Tightness in the chest / chest pains / pounding heart
- Rapid shallow breathing
- Loss of appetite / dizziness / faintness
- Tense muscles and headache
- Sweating or hot flushes
- Frequent urination/diarrhea
- Panic attack
- Raised blood pressure
- Churning in the pit of your stomach
Possible Long-Term Effects
If you have felt anxious for a long time or are frequently anxious, you may experience additional effects in your mind and body, such as:
- Sleep disorders
- A lowered immune system, which might make you more susceptible to certain physical illnesses
- Smoking or drinking a lot, or misusing drugs to cope
- A change in your sex drive.
You might also have difficulty with everyday aspects of your life, such as:
- Holding down a job
- Developing or maintaining relationships
- Simply enjoying your leisure time.
The burden of anxiety disorders cannot be overemphasized, and this article is only a pointer to what is the surface of a challenging psychological disorder which is mostly thought to be absent in this part of the world.
How can an anxiety disorder be managed?
If anxiety is affecting your ability to live your life the way you’d like to, it’s worth thinking about ways to help yourself and what kind of treatments are available. But first:
- Talk to someone you trust
- Try a breathing exercise
- Try shifting your focus
- Try listening to music or making a new playlist
- Try reassuring yourself
- Physical exercise
- Keep a diary
- Eat a healthy diet
- Find out about people with similar issues and form a support group
Treatment usually consists of a combination of pharmacotherapy (antidepressants, etc.), and/or psychotherapy (most commonly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
Anxiety occurs in different ways. It can be a fleeting feeling that can be considered an integral part of a person’s ability to manage their life. However, chronic and clinical anxiety can completely detract a person from performing activities of daily living. Though may be quite difficult to break this cycle, you can learn to feel less worried and manage anxiety levels so it doesn’t stop you enjoying life.
If you are looking for someone to talk to, that’s exactly what MANI’s here for. For more information on anxiety disorders, please reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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