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Anxiety Disorders by Kateryna Petrakova

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Decades ago introverted and socially awkward people used to be called shy. Today, we are able to classify and name people’s conditions. If a person is shy, scared, too emotional, or nervous we tend to label his or her behavior as an anxiety disorder.  On the one hand, experiencing slight anxiety is a good thing. It means your SNS is trying to let you know that something is wrong with your body. On the other hand, when excessive anxiety or panic lives with a person in everyday life, it becomes a huge problem that needs treatment.

Today, anxiety disorders are very common. More than 25 million Americans have to deal with them on a daily basis. Panic, nervousness, worry, and fear are overwhelming emotions to deal with in normal everyday life. Anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness. The most common types of anxiety disorders are:

People, who suffer from panic disorders, specifically from panic attacks, experience emotional and physical issues. Sweating, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, increased heart rate, numbness, pain in the chest, and feeling of choking. Emotional disturbance is characterized by a sudden, uncontrolled feeling of terror. Some people describe this condition as having a heart attack or “going crazy”.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by upsetting, disturbing thoughts that are obsessive because they keep coming back and compulsive actions that are being performed in order to make those thoughts go away. There are a lot of examples of OCD, but the most common one is a fear of germs, causing a person to wash hands multiple times, avoid contact with people, fearing to be exposed to germs or bacteria.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by an extremely negative event in a person’s life: sexual or physical assault, natural disasters, death of a family member, participation in a war, etc. For some people, it’s hard to cope with the previous life events and they develop PTSD, triggered by any thought, memory, or association.

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, makes everyday interactions very awkward and uncomfortable. People with this disorder experience unexplained self-consciousness, embarrassment, fear, and panic about being around others. They tend to be introverted and avoid any social contact, fearing to make a mistake and embarrass themselves.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a feeling of constant and irrational worry. People with GAD are concerned and worried about everyday life; they tend to expect disasters and catastrophes, even though they don’t have any specific reason to worry. Eventually, GAD becomes dominant and makes daily functioning incredibly hard.

Phobias are characterized by an extreme fear of objects, animals, and situations. This fear is usually exaggerated and inappropriate which causes people to feel awkward around others. Among phobias are: claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), zoophobia (fear of animals), agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), social phobia (fear of being in public), acrophobia (fear of heights), aviophobia (fear of flying), etc.

Anxiety disorders have relatively the same symptoms, such as a feeling of danger, fear, worry, self-consciousness, mood swings, and many others. But there are extreme cases when it is time to consult a doctor: suicidal thoughts, depression, leading to drug and alcohol abuse.

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The causation of anxiety disorders is not completely known, but it’s related to the areas of the brain responsible for fear and emotional responses. Also, anxiety disorders could run in the family and be a genetic inheritance or provoked by environmental triggers.

Despite the fact that anxiety disorders affect a person’s emotional and mental state of mind, they can also lead to much more serious physical problems, such as heart diseases, asthma, drug and alcohol abuse, muscle spasms, increased blood pressure, etc. Severe anxiety disorders that interfere with everyday life should be diagnosed and treated. There are two methods to take care of a problem: psychotherapy or psychological counseling, which helps people to return to the lifestyle they avoided because of anxiety; and medications, such as antidepressants, buspirone and benzodiazepines, that influence certain brain functions responsible for fear, worry, emotion control.

Anxiety disorders are very serious mental illnesses. They make people’s lives very complicated and hard. People who suffer from an anxiety disorder have to control different irrational feelings and emotions every minute of the day, which becomes a big problem for normal functioning.







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