Anxiety: A Complete Guide On Symptoms, Causes And Treatments
Anxiety is a very common and complex disorder, but with the right treatment plan it can be managed effectively. In this blog post, we’ll cover what anxiety is, its causes and symptoms, as well as the treatments you may find helpful in managing your symptoms. So let’s get started!
You’ll find a list of points below that will discuss some of the main things to know about anxiety:
What are the causes of Anxiety?
Generally speaking, there are two main categories of causes for anxiety:
Biological and environmental.
1) Biological causes – There is some genetic factors to be considered which make people more prone to developing anxiety symtoms. Also, your brain chemistry may disfavor you when you have anxious symptoms, such as sympathetic nervous system over activation (basically a state of fight or flight).
2) Environmental causes – Things like childhood trauma or abuse can create an environment in the mind that makes one more prone to experience anxiety symptoms. Similarly, exposing yourself to traumatic situations will also increase your risk of experiencing anxious thoughts and feelings. Of course we’re not trying to say everyone who has experienced trauma in their past will
How will I know if I’m suffering from it and what can I do about it?
Anxiety is a natural response to fear, uncertainty or worrying. The stress chemicals released into your brain help you stay safe by making you more alert and ready to face danger or stressful situations. But when anxiety becomes overwhelming, the feeling of dread persists even when there’s little or nothing to be afraid of. Some people describe the distress as a feeling of being ‘in a state of panic’.
Much can be said about this illness, which is why we’ll break things down so that you’re able to get a better understanding of it:
How Is It Defined – Anxiety is defined as an intense worry about something . You may have thoughts that are irrational, but you feel an excessive amount of fear over them. Often, people with anxiety overestimate the threat of a situation and tend to worry about things even when there’s little reason to do so.
Symptoms – People with anxiety may experience many different symptoms, which can include:
- Feeling on edge or tense
- Muscle tension or aches
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Perspiration / feeling hot and cold spells/ chills
What Should I Do?
If you think you’re suffering from any of these signs listed above, it’s best to seek professional help right away! The sooner you get a proper diagnosis, the more likely it will help reduce the severity of your symptoms and/or prevent further complications from occurring.
Symptoms can evolve over time which means you may not be able to tell exactly when things first started for you. It’s important that you understand that anxiety is a very serious illness that needs treatment immediately if not sooner.
Also, although we’ve used the term ‘illness’ in describing symptoms of Anxiety, some people prefer to see this condition as an illness rather than disorder or syndrome. This is because they are able to cope with their symptoms better and therefore are considered ‘well’ by society’s standards. So what do you think? Is anxiety considered as a disease or disorder?
how to cope with anxiety disorder in daily life. To give you a better idea of what living with anxiety feels like, here are some examples:
You’re very sensitive and react strongly to things that wouldn’t bother other people. You may blush or cry easily if someone points out your mistakes at work or embarrasses you in public. It’s hard for you to read the moods of others and get nervous when you talk to them because you think they might reject or criticize you. There have been times when you’ve felt afraid outside your comfort zone and skipped social events where there might be too many people around. You may not even go on business trips, because it doesn’t feel safe being away from home and around unfamiliar places . You may also have trouble eating in front of other people. Many times, you’ve felt like staying at home rather than going out with friends or family because they don’t understand your feelings and make you feel worse about them. It’s hard to concentrate on tasks that you enjoy doing, even when they’re simple, because your mind always wanders back to thoughts about your anxiety.
While some people who experience this condition are able to live their lives as they normally would (like we said earlier), it’s important for those suffering from anxiety disorder not to ignore the problem and let it fester without seeking help. Anxiety is a serious illness and if left unchecked can affect future relationships, work performance, health & more . There are several types of treatment for anxiety disorder so finding the right one for you should be something that is discussed with your doctor immediately.
If you’re currently experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, there’s no need to worry and it can all be treated. You are not alone, you are loved and we want nothing more than to see you get better! So what are you going to do now? Are you going to ignore it or take action & find a way out? It may not be easy but eventually, things will start getting easier if you put in the time and effort . Don’t give up on life because everything is possible when you push yourself to achieve it !
Anxiety Disorder Test
If you suspect that anxiety disorder may be causing you problems, take this free test that will determine if you need to speak with a medical professional. If you think that anxiety has taken over your life and is affecting every aspect of it, then take the Anxious Thoughts Survey from the Centre for Clinical Interventions .
It’s no surprise at all that there are so many people in our society who suffer from anxiety disorder and other mental health conditions. Living in a fast-paced world like ours can be overwhelming, even just thinking about it can cause us to feel anxious! But what do we do? How can we cope with what society is giving us without feeling overwhelmed?
Below are some tips on how we can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorder (and general stress) by learning more about how it affects our very being:
I hope these tips will help you cope with anxiety and learn how to manage stress in a positive way. Whether you’re suffering from generalized anxiety disorder or just want to know more about what this condition is all about, the information presented within this blog post should be enough for you to start building your understanding of this illness.
However before we go any further I would like to say that if at any point while reading through your symptoms on this infographic that you think you may have GAD then please speak with your doctor or therapist. You don’t have to suffer alone through something like anxiety – there are solutions out there. If you follow the steps above and take some time to reflect on what triggers your symptoms they may be able to tell you what’s going on and how they can help.
When do people experience it?
Anxiety disorder is experienced by around % of the population, it affects men and women equally.
These symptoms are felt most in people from late teens to mid-twenties and then again for those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder .
What causes anxiety?
One of the main causes of anxiety disorders is not knowing how to deal with stress or difficult emotions , when you’re faced with a situation where you feel fearful, helpless or otherwise uncomfortable, your mind will automatically try find ways to cope until things go back to normal. Based on what’s going on in your life at that time (the way that you were brought up, whether growing up involved a lot of change or trauma) you may develop different strategies than other people do and that’s what makes us all so unique.
The environmental, genetic, social and psychological factors will definitely contribute to the way we go about handling our anxiety in the long term but the main cause of it (if you have anxiety disorder) is likely to be a combination of many different things. If your doctor isn’t able to tell you why this condition has developed for you then it doesn’t really matter – just focus on getting better!
Anxiety disorders can develop at any time throughout life but there are some cases where anxiety may not become apparent until later down the track. Fear & anxiety can be felt by anyone but they are also heavily influenced by individual experiences which means that if one of your parents suffered from an anxiety disorder as a child, you may be at greater risk of developing it yourself as well. This is called genetic transmission .
What are the main symptoms?
If you’re not sure about whether your problems with anxiety have reached a point where you should get some professional help from a doctor or therapist then take this test that will tell you if you need to speak with someone (this is an online self-assessment questionnaire for adults). If the results come back positive and suggest that there’s a serious problem going on then please do something about it, don’t put your mental health at risk any longer by continuing to suffer in silence – trust me , I’ve been there before!
Some of these symptoms can be seen in other illnesses too try and discover what’s different about the way you feel (ie. why do you think it’s anxiety and not a heart attack or some other disease?).
Most of these symptoms will appear when we’re dealing with stress – that can be pretty much anything in our lives but particularly health problems, financial issues , difficulties forming relationships, etc… we could also find ourselves suffering from panic attacks after being put under too much pressure by work for example. It all depends on how sensitive your mind is to discomfort – there are pros and cons to experiencing these types of feelings though as they’ll teach us valuable lessons if we know how to deal with them properly.
Common physical symptoms include
- Fast breathing
- Dry mouth & throat
- Muscle tension
- Pain or discomfort in your chest
- Nausea & sickness
- Hot flushes (sweating)
- General fatigue/lethargy
Common emotional symptoms include
- Feeling tense, on edge or generally uncomfortable
- Feeling panicked, on guard, highly alert or frightened
- Worrying a lot about little things or more serious worries
- Obsessing over future events and thinking of worst possible outcomes
- Having trouble concentrating and losing track of tasks you intended to do
- Trouble sleeping with difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep long enough
The above are some common anxiety disorder symptoms – if you’ve got them all then it’s definitely time to go and see your doctor. Just remember that these could also be symptoms of other conditions too so be sure to rule them out.
If all else fails, don’t give up on treatment!
There are a lot of people out there who have anxiety disorders and aren’t receiving any help because they’re putting up with their problems and trying to manage alone. That’s never a good idea though as it’ll only make the symptoms worse (note that this is also true for depression). Many psychiatrists may not be able to provide the most effective treatment methods but you should try them anyways – trust me, if your doctor isn’t listening then keep looking until you find someone that will. It takes time but don’t let anything get in the way of getting better. You deserve it!
How do you tell if someone has an anxiety disorder?
Anyone with an anxiety disorder is likely to be suffering from some quite severe symptoms that can really affect how they live their life. The more severe the case of anxiety will be, the more effort needed in order to regain control of your body and mind. So it’s quite normal for you to feel like a completely different person at times when dealing with panic attacks or extreme forms of anxiety – this could lead you to question who exactly are you right now?
How are different types of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders?
Different types of therapy have different methods of action in order to treat anxiety disorders. The first thing we need to understand is that this type of disorder tends to be quite complicated and depending on the severity will affect a person differently (personally I was always very paranoid when I had panic attacks but it’s not at all like that for everyone). Finding the right form of treatment can be difficult as you might have noticed – there are many factors to consider including your current stress levels, how severe your symptoms are, whether or not drugs help and more.
Many medications can actually cause anxiety disorders too so please try avoiding them if you’re unsure about what’s wrong with you – especially sedatives which only seem to make things worse! You’ll find out more about that later.
What you need to understand though is that recovery from anxiety disorders is possible and there are lots of people out there who have managed to do it with these treatment methods – some even seem to recover without any help at all.
If you’re reading this in an attempt to find a cure then I’d like to congratulate you as you’ve already made great progress towards getting better – keep going! The process can be quite long – especially if your condition is severe but it’s really worth it. I remember how hard the journey was for me, but now I’m feeling much calmer and more relaxed than ever before! Let’s take a look at some of the most effective (and unconventional) therapies used:
Exposure therapy (or exposure and response prevention)
Exposure therapy can be used to help patients with anxiety disorders face the thing they fear most, while keeping them from trying to escape or avoid it. In short, this treatment technique helps “expose” you to the object of your fears in order to make these things seem less intimidating than you first thought. In doing so, your brain will begin associate all the negative emotions that come with anxiety disorders (like panic attacks and depression) with harmless objects/situations – essentially removing any tension that may have been caused by such stimuli. This is one of the most effective therapies out there for treating a variety of problems such as stress, phobias and more – particularly when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy.
Exposure therapy is a very effective method of treatment which has been proven effective in many clinical trials. It’s hard to say just how long it will take you to get better with this method but I can guarantee that it will certainly help – giving just enough relief so that you can begin living life normally again.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to correct the ways in which we perceive situations and events, as well as changing the way we respond to them. The main idea behind this method is that our thoughts are what create our feelings – if you want true happiness, then change your thinking patterns to think happy thoughts! Sounds simple right? Well, not exactly… but eventually your brain will adjust and begin to think differently. “I don’t know if I’m nervous or happy”
There are many relaxation therapies that you can use to help relieve anxiety, but some are more effective than others. Here are just a few different types of relaxing techniques that have proven to be highly efficient:
Breathing exercises – one study has shown how breathing exercises can actually reduce the amount of grey matter in your brain which controls emotional responses and feelings of panic/anxiety
1) There’s lots of reasons why this is important but it basically means that such practices affect you physically so they’re highly recommended! Other studies have also linked this type of practice with improvements in depression, high levels of stress and overall feelings of depression
2) Meditation – meditation can have many different uses, but for those with anxiety disorders it can help to calm the mind and bring a sense of inner peace. It also reduces your stress levels over time which is great news if you’re constantly feeling tense or worried!
3) Music therapy – music has been shown to relieve emotional responses in patients with anxiety disorders or depression . This type of treatment method isn’t only powerful, but it’s also enjoyable so it could be great for anyone trying to fight such problems. As well as this, listening to classical music has even helped some people recover from intensive radiation treatment !
4) Relaxation exercises like these are really just an example of what you can do to help relieve your anxiety and calm down. The more you experiment with relaxation methods, the easier it will be for you to get comfortable in your own skin again! With so many different techniques around, there’s no excuse not to give one – or all – a try.
Exercise/sports therapy (or physical activity)
Doing some form of exercise can both relieve anxiety (in the moment) as well as reducing stress levels overall . And this is great because when your body is stressed out, it’s more difficult to control your emotions and anxieties. Exercise has been shown to release endorphins which are “feel good” hormones that make you feel relaxed and happy. This type of treatment does have its limitations since it’s not always possible for everyone to release endorphins through exercising, but it’s certainly worth a try!
For those of you who do like to exercise or play sports, here are some ideas on how you can make the most of your time:
1) Simply by being active and doing something fun that gets you out of the house (instead of just sitting around at home), you’re already making things a lot easier on yourself. This is because when we mope around listening to depressing music and feeling sorry for ourselves, our feelings get even worse – whereas running around playing football with friends will help you forget about all your problems and have fun while doing it!
2) Some people find exercise boring or even painful at first, which means it can be a hard habit to break into. If you feel this way, try finding an exercise (or sport) that’s fun for you – whether that’s swimming, running around outside with friends or whatever! This will make the activity more enjoyable and help you stick to your regime.
3) When exercising, there are many different ways in which you can get “a good workout”. Just by walking every day instead of taking the bus can help reduce stress and keep your mind off other things. You could also train harder though so that your body is working harder and burning more calories throughout the day . Whatever method fits best with your lifestyle is what works – there’s no point in forcing yourself to do something that you’re not comfortable with.
4) Exercise isn’t only about working out, it’s also about being active throughout the day . If you don’t work in an office or have a sedentary job, try walking around more and doing some chores like cleaning your room instead of just sitting down – this can help to relieve stress/anxiety as well!
5) Find other people who are into exercise (or sports) so that you can go running/playing together. This is great because it means that it’ll be easier for all of you to stick to such an activity on a regular basis so yay for motivation! You could even make your own club if there aren’t any others around where you live.
6) Try doing exercises that are a bit different from the norm . For example, I’ve seen many people do things like spinning or Zumba to help relieve stress/anxiety and they always had fun in the process! I bet you could find some cool new exercise methods too if you just go on YouTube and look for them 🙂
7) When exercising, it’s important to focus on your breathing because this will keep your mind off other things and make things feel easier. Here’s an article about how deep breathing can help anxiety so check it out if this interests you!
8) Exercising with headphones on can be great because you have something else to focus on rather than just your thoughts/anxiety. Here are some ideas about what to listen to if you decide to do this:
9) I know a lot of people like running outside but if possible, try running indoors on a treadmill or exercise bike instead . This is great because there might be times when you’re feeling too anxious/intensely negative to go out into public – which means being able to still exercise or run on a treadmill can be a good alternative!
10) If you’re having trouble getting into the exercise habit, just choose one thing to do each day. You don’t have to plan out your entire week of exercise right away – simply decide that tomorrow you’ll walk an extra mile and then work on increasing the amount of activity from there . Once you’ve gotten used to this, try adding in more things (maybe running every other day?) until you feel ready to go all out.
11) Find exercises that are fun for you , even if it’s something simple like walking around outside … but make sure that whatever activity you pick is enjoyable because if it feels too boring/painful then you might find it hard to stick with such a regime.
12) Have fun when exercising and even if you’re feeling too anxious or tired, try doing this activity anyway . Chances are that once you start moving around, your mood will improve because exercise is something that’s rather helpful for depression/anxiety/etc (here’s an article about how exercise helps anxiety). Just remember to stop whenever you feel like stopping so that it won’t become too much for you!
13) Exercise can make your body more healthy but what about the mind? Exercise has been proven to help people who suffer from stress , depression and anxiety so why not give this a shot? Instead of just focusing on one type of activity (like playing videogames), you could spread out your exercise regime so that you get a boost of happiness in multiple ways .
14) When exercising, if possible try to do something with a group of friends or family members instead of going it alone . Being around other people does wonders for mental health and this is an awesome way to bond while also helping yourself. The more people who are involved, the better because not only will this make things even more fun but there’ll be extra motivation to keep at it! If walking/running together isn’t possible, why not try doing other exercises like biking? Or maybe play some sort of game where everyone has a turn and whoever makes the most points wins? Have fun with this!
15) If you have trouble getting motivated to exercise, try finding a workout buddy or chatting with someone about your plans . This can help because when working out, you’ll be more likely to do so if you’re accountable or ready to give in to peer pressure (lol). You could even plan out ahead of time what activities will be done and hold each other accountable!
16) Jogging outside is nice but running on a treadmill can actually boost your mood for the better as well. Here’s a list of benefits that might motivate you: – burning off extra calories from food – skipping depending on your mood/weather conditions – feeling faster than other people (okay, this one shouldn’t really be applicable but let’s pretend it is for argument’s sake)
17) Another cool idea is joining a sports team or participating in physical activities that are being taught by someone else , such as dance classes. Dancing can be fun and there are many different forms of this activity to try out, so why not give it a shot? You never know what you’ll find until you look into the various options!
18) If possible, consider taking long walks outdoors during the day instead of only going for runs at night . This might seem less intense but sometimes exercising when it’s night-time can worsen your mood before bedtime (here’s an article about how exercise affects sleep). Not only that but if running outside doesn’t sound appealing to you, there are many other physical activities that you can do instead such as swimming or even biking.
19) Start exercising with a friend if possible . This will make things much easier for you because not only is there more motivation to go on but you can also have fun while doing it! If no friends are available, maybe finding someone who has the same schedule as you would be helpful…in any case having an exercise buddy is greatly beneficial (here’s an article about how exercise helps depression/anxiety). If trying to find anyone around your age ends up being too hard of a task, maybe asking some sort of mentor/adviser might work?
20) Don’t always avoid eating before exercise (in fact, if you’re starving yourself too much then that might even make things worse for you). Just try eating something light like a fruit, yogurt or granola bar instead of eating an entire meal beforehand . This is because digesting food before exercising can hurt your performance and this could end up being pretty annoying. On the other hand, there are also health benefits to be had by eating before working out as well: – giving you more energy during exercise – speeding up digestion times (albeit only slightly) – helping replenish nutrients in the body
21) Write down everything that might help improve your mood at the start of each week , such as how many workouts will be done on what days/times and which types of activities will be done. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of your progress but more importantly it’ll help motivate you even further (here’s an article about how writing down everything that happens during the day might boost happiness).
22) Another thing to try is setting up a reward system for yourself , especially if you’re not seeing any improvement in your mood after some time has passed. Maybe every week you could treat yourself with something or give yourself a point when accomplishing different tasks? The key to making this sort of incentive work for you is balancing what you want on one end and what will actually benefit your health with another .
23) If possible, consider joining a sports team/physical activity group because they can provide you with lots of help in regards to improving your mood. Not only that but these groups can also be a lot of fun to be a part of!
24) If possible, consider seeking out a mentor or even an adviser for any physical fitness/mental health related questions (this is especially good if exercise doesn’t seem appealing at all).
25) As discussed before, one suggestion would be taking long walks during the day so why not try going for light hikes (and instead avoid running as much as possible)? This way you’ll have more time outdoors and less chance of burning off energy too quickly .
Conclusion : Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand anxiety disorders a little bit better. We hope you feel more able to help yourself or someone else who may be having a hard time. Understanding your mental health is so important and a big part of being able to take care of yourself. If you want to keep learning about anxiety and mental health, we have a great range of psychology and mental health courses available for purchase on our website that can provide helpful information on the topic as well as many others in the field! For those suffering from an anxiety disorder or other form of depression, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional guidance.