Everyone deals with the feeling of anxiousness from time to time. Some people are able to deal with it while some people get to the point where their anxiety impedes them from functioning properly. And that is the line that separates regular anxiety from anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is usually felt when we are anticipating special events or when we go through a different phase in our lives. It’s a normal reaction but sometimes it could get out of hand, too intense and last for hours, or even longer.
Sadly, anxiety disorders are more common that we thought. Past researches by experts have shown that 1 in 4 adults will experience an anxiety disorder at least once in their life. Therefore, these adults who suffer from anxiety disorder will have trouble with work and home life. Sadly, again, people usually live years with anxiety disorder before it gets diagnosed and treated. That is why it is important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorder so you can have it diagnosed and treated right away.
There are 6 categories of anxiety disorders:
- Panic Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Acute Stress Disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Though these categories are quite different from each other, they all have the following features:
- Irrational and Excessive Fear
- Apprehensive and Tense Emotions
- Difficulty with Daily Tasks
There is what experts call as a normal amount of anxiety. Feeling anxiety every now and then is necessary and healthy because it aids in acting on your daily concerns and protects you from harm. Anxiety helps you perceive danger and influences you to avoid it so you can survive. Normal anxiety is more commonly known as the “fight or flight” response.
Effect of Anxiety
Anxiety affects three factors in our being – cognitive, physical and behavioral.
Cognitive – when we experience anxiety, our attention shifts to the dangers that surround us. This is why people with anxiety disorder are extremely worried, or even terrified of what goes on around us.
Physical – anxiety causes our heart to beat faster and even palpitate. People with anxiety disorder experience extreme shaking, sweating, lightheadedness, freezing, shortness of breath and muscle tension.
Behavioral – you will notice people experiencing anxiety disorders to be a bit detached from others. They refrain from socializing thinking that they could protect themselves from potential threats.
When Normal Anxiety Becomes Anxiety Disorder
When should you get treatment or when you should refer someone to a specialist? Some people experience anxiety but the effects are usually short-lived. Those that experience the cognitive, physical and behavioral effects of anxiety that are more persistent need the help of others.
These are the usual effects of anxiety disorder in the different aspects of a person:
Cognitive – thoughts and beliefs become overly anxious. People suffering from anxiety disorder usually think of predictions that are unreasonable.
Physical – effects on the physical aspect become uncontrollable and impede a person from carrying out his daily tasks. There is too much palpitation, shaking, sweating and the like.
To explain better, take not of the following red flags of anxiety disorder:
- Too much distress caused by the symptoms of anxiety disorder
- Too much effect of the symptoms on a person’s ability to work, study or socialize
Once you see that anxiety disorder has taken over how a person should live his daily life, then it’s time to seek medical assistance. Call your doctor or psychiatrist and get diagnosed. This way, you can get proper treatment and medication.