When you are in excessive stress and nervous, it is anxiety that comes up as a reaction to deal with the situation. In short, anxiety is an emotion when your brain reacts to stress and alerts you of potential danger ahead. A prolonged or acute level of anxiety turns into an anxiety disorder. With the right therapy and treatment, anxiety disorders are curable.
In 2017, as per a global estimate 284 million individuals experienced an anxiety disorder. It is the most prevalent neurodevelopmental or mental health disorder. Females are more prone than males to develop an anxiety disorder with lifetime anxiety disorders. Out of above number 63 percent were female while 105 million were males.
Let’s find out the reason for stress. Stress is caused due to a buildup of smaller stressful life situations that trigger excessive anxiety. Too much stress at work, financial issues, troublesome personal life, a death in the family, for example, can lead to anxiety over a period of time. Also, individuals with certain personality types are more likely to anxiety disorders.
With knowledge about anxiety comes the question in mind if it is in any way related to the genes that we inherit. A recent 2017 study showed that generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can be genetic. Many researchers are of the opinion that although anxiety could be genetic but environmental factors also play an important role.
Anxiety can be diagnosed with symptoms like restlessness, panic, tension, or feeling nervous. It can also increase your heart rate.
Types of Anxiety
The most common form forms of anxieties are as follows:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a form of anxiety that is a response to personal health, stress related to work, or social interactions. One may experience GAD for an extended period of time, more than six months. An extreme sense of fear and worry is created in GAD which stems out from normal activities. Such anxieties impact an individual’s social life, work, education, and even life in general. For example, about 6.8 million Americans are affected by this common global phenomenon as per ADAA
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): In OCD people have uncontrollable, reoccurring, and disturbing thoughts and urges causing serious anxiety to the sufferer. In the US alone 2.2 million people are impacted due to OCD.
Due to this condition, the patient repeats certain compulsive in order to counteract the mental images. Patients may either compulsively wash and clean an already neat place repeatedly or check locks multiple times before leaving their home or avoid a particular route in order to avoid a potential imaginary threat.
Panic Disorder: Panic disorders result from experiencing sudden and recurring panic attacks due to a specific trigger. In America, nearly 6 million adults suffer from panic disorder as per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is the result of anxiety due to a shocking and scary life-threatening event that no longer poses any threat to the individual causing recurring fear and stress. Being involved in domestic violence, major accidents, sexual assault, or being involved in the war are some of the most common forms of PTSD. As per a global estimate, 354 million adult war survivors have suffered from PTSD or major depression.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): This type of disorder has common symptoms like fear of embarrassment in a social gathering or in school or public places. The most critical form of social anxiety disorder is agoraphobia which is also the fear of being in public. As per ADAA, 15 million US citizens are drastically impacted by this kind of condition.
Tips to cope up with anxiety
Take a time-out: It is vital to take some time off for relaxation to help your mind and body to switch off from normal activities, especially ones that form the reason for your anxiety. Too much work not much play can also produce stress and eventually anxiety. So it is better to not do anything sometime in the entire day.
Practice yoga: Yoga is a collection of spiritual, mental, and physical practices that had its origin in ancient India. It helps the body and mind to calm and can elicit the relaxation response. Yoga helps reduce the impact of stress, improve energy, help with anxiety and depression as well as be a self-soothing technique similar to meditation, relaxation, and exercise
Eat food that prevents anxiety: Some food can help those with anxiety and make them feel calmer. Green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, fatty fish, asparagus, Zinc-rich foods cashews, egg yolk, oysters, liver, or beef have been linked to lower anxiety levels. Food that is rich in antioxidants, with vitamin B and probiotics are known to be good for anxiety patients.
Listen to music: As per a study by the University of Utah Pain Research Center, it has been established that listening to music had been pain relieving for anxiety patients. It can be used as an effective distraction for those who can easily become absorbed in mental activities.
Meditate: Mindful meditation helps in focused concentration and address stress. Meditation can also reduce depression, high blood pleasure, chronic pain, and depression apart from reducing heart disease.
Get a massage: Massage therapy helps to reduce tension and elevate the feeling of deep relaxation and calm. It has been used for the treatment of emotional and mental conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety. According to a study, participants who experienced regular massage therapy for a fortnight had a 50% reduction in anxiety symptoms and the benefits were long term.
Refrain from alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol gradually changes levels of neurotransmitters in the brain like that of serotonin which can drastically deteriorate anxiety levels. After the effect of alcohol vanish you may feel more anxious. Anxiety induced by alcohol can last for several hours to an entire day.
Develop a positive attitude: Experiments done in King’s College London revealed that participants of a study related to positive attitude reported a significant decrease in the experience of anxiety-related problems and worry in addition to an increase in their level of optimism.
Get on a Picasso hat: Art helps to relax and relieve stress out of your body. It has been witnessed that the practice of coloring mandala drawings has been significantly effective in reducing anxiety levels. Anxiety levels were measured pre-and post- drawing activities to understand that there had been a significant reduction in stress in the coloring groups.
If you or any of your family members have symptoms of anxiety or a panic attack immediately consult a doctor. At CareEver, you can consult a patient-friendly expert who can guide you in case you suffer from anxiety, panic or depression. Book an appointment using our website or download the app.