What is Anxiety

The mind is a very powerful influence on how the body maintains its health state. There are many ailments that stem from problems on how the mind operates, resulting in varied symptoms that go beyond that of the nervous system. Mental disorders can be classified into organic disorders and functional disorders. Organic mental problems are characterized by physical abnormalities in brain tissue, and are usually congenital, such as mental retardation. On the other hand, functional mental disorders do not involve physical problems with brain tissue, and most of the patients who experience them do not immediately appear to be afflicted. One of the most common functional mental disorders that affect millions of people worldwide is anxiety. Anxiety can also be termed as neurosis, because the symptoms are more on the emotional rather than the physical behavior of a patient.

Natural Anxiety vs. Severe Anxiety

Anxiety is a physiological state consisting of cognitive, somatic, emotional and behavioral aspects which we normally feel as fear or apprehension. The cognitive aspect visualizes unforeseen danger, somatic state deals with threat reaction in which normal functions of the body are either increased or decreased and physical attributes like sweating and trembling are noticed. However, anxiety is a normal emotion that occurs alongside happiness, sadness and anger and should be treated as any normal survival function. Anxiety is understood to be a protective mechanism, to guard against potentially harmful behavior. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, but when it crosses a certain limit without reason, then we can term it as a disorder.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Anxiety is often characterized by a constant and unjustifiable feeling of fear and apprehension. Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Very fast heart beat or palpitation of the heart
  • Chest pain
  • Trembling
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Stomach Upset
  • A constant sense of Fear
  • Hot or cold flushes

Some of the forms of anxiety are more common among women than in men. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one form of anxiety that is equally prevalent among men and women. This condition is greatly linked with childhood experiences of the patient. A patient with OCD relates specific repetitive acts with obsessions, and when he is unable to perform these rituals, a feeling of high anxiety overcomes him. Other forms of anxiety attacks include panic attacks, phobic anxiety, and depressive reaction.


1)GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER is a state in which people experience too much worry and tension, without any provocation, in day to day activities and anticipate disaster for nothing. They can’t relax, startle easily, have difficulty concentrating and have trouble falling asleep. Physical symptoms include fatigue, headache, trembling, sweating, frequent bathroom visits and shortness of breath.

2)OBSESSIVE COMPULSORY DISORDER (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Repetitive behavior like hand washing, counting and checking are often performed with the hope of making them go away. These repetitive acts give temporary relief and the anxiety increases without performing them. People with OCD often experience persistent images or the urge to do certain rituals repeatedly without any reason. OCD is accompanied by eating disorders and depression.

3)PANIC DISORDER is characterized by sudden attacks of terror accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, faintness or dizziness. Anxiety Panic attacks usually produce a fear of impending doom or a fear of losing control. Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep, peaking within 10 minutes.

4) POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) develops after a terrifying incident involving physical harm or a threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may be personally harmed or a loved one harmed or a witness to a harmful event. It may result from rape, kidnapping, child abuse, accidents, bombings or natural disasters. People with PTSD may startle easily, become emotionally numb, lose interest in things, be irritable, and become more aggressive or violent. They tend to avoid situations reminiscent of the original incident. They re live the thoughts repeatedly with the impression that it is going to happen all over again. The signs of anxiety begin within 3 months of the incident but may also emerge later in some cases. Some people recover quickly, some take longer time and in others it may become a chronic anxiety.

5)SOCIAL PHOBIA or social anxiety disorder is diagnosed when people become overwhelmingly anxious and self conscious in everyday situations. They are too critical of themselves and fear being judged by others. It interferes with day to day activities severely, even though they are aware of it. It is accompanied by blushing, sweating, trembling and feel that everyone is focusing on them.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, there are about 40 million American adults afflicted with any of the various forms of anxiety.

Treatment for Anxiety

Anti Anxiety medications include tranquilizers or anti-depressants. But trust must be reposed on the medical health practitioner. Because there are many anxiety drugs available, doctors also provide information on possible side effects of these medicines, such as nausea, headaches, and others. Some patients may also experience weight gain from the drugs. Aside from that, regular psychotherapy may be recommended, as a means of determining root causes of anxiety attacks. Benefits also accrue on joining social anxiety support groups, sharing anxiety problems and achievements. Stress relieving techniques and meditations help calm patients and enhance the effects of therapy. Caffeine, illicit drugs and certain cold medications should be avoided.

There are also alternative remedies that are being used to cure anxiety attacks. One type of treatment involves the use of hypnosis, in which a patient is made to enter a relaxed state. This way, the hypnotist can alter the behavior of the patient by means of suggestion.

Many medical practitioners are concerned with the other symptoms that can be manifested because of anxiety attacks. Anxiety is shown to be linked to stress and cardiovascular disease, which is why it is a mental condition that should be treated immediately and professionally. At present, there are still research studies being conducted to determine how prolonged anxiety conditions can cause further physical complications, especially in older people.

Irrespective of the type of treatment, the support of the family is crucial and they should cooperate fully for complete recovery.

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