Whenever we feel a bit stressed out or out of control about a certain situation, oftentimes even afraid - that’s the body's natural response to our unpredictable, undesired situation.
In medical terms, that’s called anxiety, and it’s a completely normal emotion. However, there’s a limit to where that spectrum extends and anxiety can easily become hard to control or maintain.
In order to avoid any misunderstandings about anxiety, we decided to answer some of the questions related to it. Let’s dig in.
Anxiety - What’s That?
Our bodies have natural alarm clocks that are set off every time something unexpected happens. Whenever we’re in a dangerous situation or we fear something unexpected might happen, we trigger our alarm clock so we can be more prepared to respond accordingly.
This emotion is called anxiety, and every time we’re faced with a similar situation, we feel a bit anxious about it. However, it doesn’t have to be something dangerous - it can be something unpleasant to us personally. Public speaking, holding a presentation or singing, these are just some of the activities that can make us feel anxious.
Of course, a small bit of anxiety it’s acceptable - if not advisable!
However, if this anxious feeling happens more often than usual or it lasts longer, it can develop into an anxiety disorder. As such, the disorder is more difficult to control and it interferes with completing daily tasks, regardless of complexity.
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
There’s no general rule of the physical symptoms of anxiety - each person feels differently when experiencing anxiety symptoms.
However, these are some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety:
- Breathing problems or rapid breathing;
- Increased heart rate;
- Skin irritations;
- Lower concentration;
- Sleep problems;
Some people may experience stomach aches or headaches, while others may experience panic attacks. It’s different for everyone, but the unpleasant feeling remains the same.
Types of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are divided into multiple types:
Social Anxiety Disorder
People with social anxiety disorder tend to feel overwhelmed with any social activity. They have a high level of self-consciousness and they worry too much about other people judging them. Common examples of such situations are public speaking, meeting new people, dating and so on.
When a person feels overwhelmed with fear, that can transform into a panic attack. The physical symptoms of panic attacks are sweating, pounding heart, chest pain, hot flashes or chills, shaking, etc. Panic attacks last no longer than 10 minutes, but in severe cases, they may last for hours.
Phobias are described as a recurring fear, usually from an object or a specific situation.
Although sometimes inexplicable, these fears can cause a person to avoid certain situations to prevent a sense of fear from appearing. People with extreme phobias are aware of their conditions, but they can’t take control of their fear.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety is usually present among children, but grown-up people are not excluded either. It’s the fear of separation from the most important people in our lives. People with separation anxiety might feel scared to be without that person, or even afraid to sleep at other places.
If a person feels unable to escape a certain situation or place and starts to develop physical symptoms of it, that might be a sign of developing agoraphobia. An agoraphobic person could feel anxious about public transportation, crowded places, open spaces, walking alone outside, etc.
Anxiety is not a definitive condition and it can be cured with a combination of medical treatment and psychotherapy, depending on the disorder. Many won’t even feel the need for any medication, a simple lifestyle change would do it! Some of the techniques that could help are stress management practices, exercising, relaxation techniques, a support network of people, etc.
However, for many of the patients diagnosed with anxiety, it would require bigger changes. One common practice is psychotherapy and medications, usually antidepressants and sedatives.
There are ways to avoid feeling anxious and they usually don’t require getting out of your comfort zone. Those activities include regular sleep, working out, practicing outdoor activities, eating healthy food, as well as avoiding consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.
Every human being feels anxious at some point in their life. We have important events, job interviews, tests - different situations that require different input from us. However, when that anxious feeling appears often, and more powerful than the average - it can be diagnosed as a disorder.
Even as such, it’s important to acknowledge that anxiety can be controlled and that there’s nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. It requires changes, sure, but at the end of the day, these changes can make you feel good about yourself - and hopefully, a bit less anxious!
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