What You Need To Know About Anxiety Disorder In 2018

What You Need To Know About Anxiety Disorder In 2018

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a feeling that happens when you feel afraid or worried. You may feel on edge or tense. It is a normal reaction when you go through a stressful event or things in life are not certain. Anxiety becomes a problem when it lasts for a long time. It is also a problem if it is getting in the way of your normal activities. Your anxiety may affect your work or how to relate to your friends. You may have problems with sleeping, eating, and overall health. Anxiety may also affect the family.

Generalized anxiety disorder is also known as GAD. People with GAD often have fear. They worry that something bad will happen. If you have GAD you may have problems relaxing. You may also worry about many things, not just one.

GAD may be treated in a few ways. Your doctor may use drugs and talk therapy like cognitive-behavior therapy. Both treatments work well. Research has shown you will get the best results by using both drugs and talk therapy together.

In therapy, you will learn how your thought patterns cause your fears, anxiety, and worry. Then, you will work to replace them with truthful beliefs and behavior.

How Do You Know When Anxiety Is A Medical Problem?

Everyone feels anxious or nervous once in a while. That is normal. But being extremely anxious or worried on most days for 6 months or longer is not normal. This is called "generalized anxiety disorder."

The disorder can make it hard to do everyday tasks.

Generalized anxiety disorder is just one anxiety disorder. There are others, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and phobias. This article focuses on generalized anxiety disorder.

What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety?

People with extreme or severe anxiety feel very worried or "on edge" much of the time. They can have trouble sleeping or forget things. Plus, they can have physical symptoms. For instance, people with severe anxiety often feel very tired and have tense muscles. Some even get stomach aches or feel chest "tightness."

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

  1. Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  2. Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  3. Having an increased heart rate
  4. Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  5. Sweating
  6. Trembling
  7. Feeling weak or tired
  8. Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  9. Having trouble sleeping
  10. Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  11. Having difficulty controlling worry
  12. Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

What Are The Causes Of Anxiety Disorder?

For some people, anxiety may be linked to an underlying health issue. In some cases, anxiety signs and symptoms are the first indicators of a medical illness. If your doctor suspects your anxiety may have a medical cause, he or she may order tests to look for signs of a problem.

Examples of medical problems that can be linked to anxiety include:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Diabetes
  3. Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism
  4. Respiratory disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma
  5. Drug misuse or withdrawal
  6. Withdrawal from alcohol, anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) or other medications
  7. Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome
  8. Rare tumors that produce certain fight-or-flight hormones

Sometimes anxiety can be a side effect of certain medications.

It's possible that your anxiety may be due to an underlying medical condition if:

  1. You don't have any blood relatives (such as a parent or sibling) with an anxiety disorder
  2. You didn't have an anxiety disorder as a child
  3. You don't avoid certain things or situations because of anxiety
  4. You have a sudden occurrence of anxiety that seems unrelated to life events and you didn't have a previous history of anxiety

When Should I See A Doctor Or Nurse?

  1. Are more anxious than you think is normal
  2. Get overly anxious about things that other people handle more easily
  3. Your doctor or nurse can ask you questions that are designed to "measure" a person's anxiety level.

If you do have a problem with anxiety, there are different treatments that can help.

Anxiety Disorder

Is there Anything I Can Do On My Own To Feel Better?

Yes. Exercise can help many people feel less anxious. It's also a good idea to cut down on or stop drinking coffee and other sources of caffeine. Caffeine can make anxiety worse.

How Is Anxiety Treated?

  1. Psychotherapy – Psychotherapy involves meeting with a mental health counselor to talk about your feelings, relationships, and worries. Therapy can help you find new ways of thinking about your situation so that you feel less anxious. In therapy, you might also learn new skills to reduce anxiety.
  2. Medicines – Medicines used to treat depression can relieve anxiety, too, even in people who are not depressed. Your doctor or nurse will decide which medicines are best for your situation.

Some people have psychotherapy and take medicines at the same time.

There is no reason to feel embarrassed about getting treatment for anxiety. Anxiety is a common problem. It affects all kinds of people.

Keep in mind that it might take a little while to find the right treatment. People respond in different ways to medicines and therapy, so you might need to try a few approaches before you find the one that helps you most. The key is to not give up and to let your doctor or nurse know how you feel along the way.

Are There Any Herbal Treatments I Can Do Or Take?

Makers of herbal drugs sometimes claim that their products relieve anxiety. For example, herbs called kava kava and valerian are sold as treatments for anxiety. But there is no evidence that these treatments work. What's more, kava kava has been linked with serious liver damage. It might not be safe.

What If I Want To Get Pregnant?

If you take medicines to treat anxiety, speak to your doctor before you start trying to get pregnant. Some of the medicines used to treat anxiety can cause problems for babies, so you might need to switch medicines before you get pregnant.

What Will My Life Be Like?

People with anxiety disorders often have to deal with some anxiety for the rest of their life. For some, anxiety comes and goes, but gets bad during times of stress. The good news is, many people find effective treatments or ways to deal with their anxiety.

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or lifestyle choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.

You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.

All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.

Resources

Video Interviews With Mental Health Experts

National Institute of Mental Health

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Anxiety Disorders Association of America


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