Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
At the sound of the alarm clock ringing, you begin to wake up, your eyes blinking rapidly to adjust to the blinding sunlight. You start the day with a yawn and a few stretches of your limbs.
As you slowly remove yourself from the comforts of your warm bed, the inner cogs of your mind begin to turn and supply you with thoughts to start up your day. And with a gasp, you then remember that in less than an hour, you will be taking your final exam.
You suddenly feel nauseous, your legs trembling at the picture in your mind. Your breakfast no longer tastes edible because your throat has gone dry. Suddenly, it is like your heart is about to break your rib cage apart with its uncontrollable thudding, and your breaths come out in short wheezes and pants.
A million and one thoughts flood inside your brain.
Did you study?
Was it enough?
What if you studied the wrong book?
What if your pen stops working in the middle of the exam?
What if you forget everything that you studied?
Your fight or flight instincts start to kick in, and you wish that this day would just end. As you leave your home with a grimace, the thoughts continue to plague you, their existence lingering at the back of your head like a stubborn moss. They persist, even as you are already taking your exam and leave only when you have handed your examination sheets with shaky fingers. You breathe a sigh of relief as your worries slowly disappear, and you wish that you will never have to experience this kind of pressure again.
But the demands of everyday life never cease. They are endless, and they continue to plague our minds with needless worry. Luckily for us, our body reacts to these demands automatically, like an advanced computer constantly on an alert. And like a computer, our body supplies us with responses to an incoming threat. Surprisingly enough, one of these responses is anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of dread or apprehension, a response to an external or internal stimulus. According to WebMD, anxiety, is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences. In life, anxiety is not avoidable, but this can affect a person positively, as it can motivate the person to act and solve the problem at hand.
Anxiety is also classified into three levels: mild, moderate, and severe.
However, anxiety becomes a disorder when people find it hard to control their worries. A person with an anxiety disorder can show strange behavioral manifestations such as inexplicable panic, unjustifiable fear, overwhelming worry, or even recollection of events that were traumatic for him. In such cases, the apprehension felt is constant, therefore interfering with a person’s ability to function, his daily routine, and even his social life.
Types of anxiety disorders:
There are different types of anxiety disorders, here are some.
- Panic disorder
Panic disorder is characterized by the onset of a panic attack, which is a period of intense fear that strikes unexpectedly. The cause of the panic attack is usually non-threatening to an individual; however, the sense of danger a panic attack can bring to a person is so intense that the body reacts to it automatically.
Other symptoms of panic disorder include the following:
sweating, shortness of breath, rapid or pounding heartbeat, chest pain, feeling unsteady, choking or smothering sensations, numbness or tingling, chills or hot flashes, faintness, trembling or shaking, nausea or abdominal pains, feeling unreal or disconnected, and fear of losing control or dying.
- Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is the unreasonable fear of social interaction, which leads to avoidance behavior.
People with this disorder feel anxious while in a social gathering, being the center of attention, interacting with people, and reporting in front of a class or a group. Some even fear having to work or eat in front of others, and even talking on the phone can be a frightening experience for them.
- Specific phobias
Specific phobia, formerly called as a simple phobia, is characterized by severe anxiety provoked by a specific item or situation. People with specific phobia tend to avoid the object or situation that they fear the most.
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by chronic worrying about everyday things. Although less intense compared to a panic attack, generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD) lasts longer, making relaxation almost impossible. GAD is diagnosed when someone manifests chronic worrying for more than six months.
Mayo Clinic has listed several symptoms for GAD, including indecisiveness, difficulty concentrating, inability to relax and let go and more.
- Obsessive—compulsive disorder
Obsessive—compulsive disorder (or OCD) involves doing repetitive behaviors (commonly termed as a ritual) in an attempt to relieve anxiety. OCD usually revolves around a central theme. For example, if a person is afraid of germs, he will continuously wash his hands to ease his fear of germs. However, the bothersome thoughts continue to come, even if the person tries to forget them. Thus, this leads to a vicious cycle that is inherent in OCD.
Several proven methods to overcome OCD are explained more clearly at Manvsocd.com.
- Acute stress disorder
Acute stress disorder (ASD) is the development of severe anxiety, dissociation, and other symptoms, which occur within one month of exposure to an extremely traumatic experience. Lasting at two days to four weeks, a person with ASD often finds it very difficult to feel pleasure or happiness in enjoyable activities.
A person with ASD also relives the traumatic experience through thoughts and dreams. Lastly, a person with ASD also avoids any object or stimuli that can arouse recollections of the traumatic event.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which was once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, can be developed following a terrifying event (which is experienced or witnessed). PTSD begins within three months to years following the traumatic experience and may last a few months or years.
If you think that you, or someone you might know, are suffering from an anxiety disorder, seek help immediately! Don’t be embarrassed to let your doctor know what you’re feeling. Let it all out, one step at a time. Early treatment can greatly help in overcoming your anxiety disorder.
Don’t be embarrassed to let your doctor know what you’re feeling. Let it all out, one step at a time. Early treatment can greatly help in overcoming your anxiety disorder.
Let it all out, one step at a time.
Early treatment can greatly help in overcoming your anxiety disorder.