Do You Suffer From Anxiety

The causes of this disorder are suspected to be chemical imbalances in the brain caused by long-lasting stress, experiencing trauma and can even be hereditary.
Text by Corina Tan

People who suffer from anxiety are often unaware that they are suffering from a mental health condition. It is frequently assumed by those around them that the condition is not serious and does not require any immediate medical attention other than just getting a grip and learning to calm down. Although it’s normal to have some nervousness and feel anxious before an interview, presentation, taking a test, making an important decision, an anxiety disorder goes beyond the regular fear and nervousness that people may feel from time to time. Anxiety disorder happens when it affects your ability to function normally, when triggers result in extreme lack of emotional control and when you are unable to control responses in certain situations.

There are certain types of anxiety disorders that are broken down as follows:

• Generalised Anxiety

• Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

• Panic Disorder

• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

• Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders are more common than we realise and affect nearly 30 per cent of people at some point in their lives. It can begin in early childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, and can also emerge after an onset of a traumatic experience in life at any age.

An anxiety disorder is not brought on by the person themselves as thought by most. It isn’t caused by a personal weakness, character flaw or timid disposition. Instead, the causes of this disorder are suspected to be chemical imbalances in the brain caused by long-lasting stress, experiencing trauma and can even be hereditary. The disorder tends to run in families and can be inherited from one or both parents, just like eye colour. In other words, it isn’t the sufferer’s fault. In some cases, people can go undiagnosed and untreated for a very long time, owing to the fact that family members don’t understand it and the lack of support to get the help needed to treat it.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder are varied and range from physical, mental and behavioural. Nausea, numbness, health palpitations, muscle tension, shortness of breath, nightmares, feeling panic or fear, repeated thoughts or flashbacks to trauma, uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, trouble sleeping, and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are some common signs that someone is experiencing anxiety. In fact, stress on the digestive system is very closely related to anxiety and stems from a connection between the nervous system and the stomach. Among people who are treated for IBS, anywhere from 50 to 90 per cent may have anxiety disorder or depression. One of the scariest symptoms of anxiety disorder is feeling like you are having a heart attack. Symptoms can mimic such a health emergency, warranting a trip to the emergency room.

Even though this disorder can make it very difficult to get through each day and live a normal life, several effective treatments are available. Patients are unable to just will it away as it isn’t a matter of discipline or attitude. If you are suffering from anxiety disorder, a combination of medication and therapy may greatly help to manage the condition, improve symptoms and help you function better. Limiting caffeine, exercising, a healthy diet and seeking help from a certified medical practitioner will go a long way to treating and preventing symptoms that disrupt your life.

(Read more: Lifestyle Habits That Will Make You Look Younger)

Images: Getty

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