What is anxiety? Anxiety is a psychological and physical state, which is considered as normal in a stressful situation. In that case, it gives a signal to the organism that should initiate a reaction in the brain in order to take action. However, anxiety can become a pathological state when it becomes excessive or when the individual feels anxiety in the absence of a stressful situation. Then, it becomes an abnormal reaction that can be ranged in the label of “Anxiety disorders”. What are anxiety disorders? Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. They are a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear. Those feeling can appear in particular situations, such as in enclosed spaces or on the opposite, in open spaces (agoraphobia). They can also appear in the presence of particular objects or insects, animals, transportations; or the fear of talking in public (social phobia). When anxiety becomes a permanent state without any objective reason or situation, it is called “Generalized anxiety disorder”, where the individual has lost his ability to control the worry. An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming and the individual is not able anymore to pursue normally his daily goals and activities. What are the main different kinds of anxiety disorders? • Generalized anxiety disorder: excessive anxiety about daily activities associated mostly with irritability and fatigue. • Panic disorder: occurrence of panic attacks linked to a special situation associated with palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, etc. • Agoraphobia: fear of anxiety about transportations, open spaces or enclosed spaces, etc. • Social anxiety: fear or anxiety in a social situation with avoidance of those situations. • Phobias: marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation. • Separation anxiety: excessive fear of anxiety to be separated from those to whom the individual is attached • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: the presence of obsessions and compulsions: the obsessions are recurrent thoughts, which are intrusive and unwanted; the individual is trying to combat those by different kinds of behaviors such as washing, counting, checking… • Post-traumatic stress disorder: an intense stress due to an abnormal situation where the individual has seen or being the principal actor of a violent scene, fearing for his life or someone else’s life.
What is the best treatment for anxiety disorders? The best treatment to overcome anxiety is first to analyze and understand the roots of the problem. Of course, medication can help temporarily release the anxiety, but if you don’t understand the source, as soon as you will stop the medication, everything will come back. For example, social anxiety comes for example from a lack of self-confidence, which has maybe always been there. This kind of anxiety finds normally its roots in childhood. It’s, therefore, possible, that the individual had been raised in an insecure environment or haven’t been enough reassured. It’s pretty much the same pattern for all types of anxiety disorders. For phobias, we can see that the fear of an object or an animal is most of the time a symbolic translation from an unconscious pattern that happened in the past. Finding this meaning by a talking cure can help the individual to get rid of it. To conclude, if the anxiety symptoms are taking control of your life, and if you see yourself avoiding situations because of the fear of anxiety, and this started to create a real discomfort in your daily life, it’s really time to seek the help of a mental health professional that will help you get through it.
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