What is anxiety?
Your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. This holds true for anxiety as well.
At some point in your life, we have all experienced it. Anxiety is the feeling of worry and apprehension that is associated with events such as preparing for a job interview, going on a first date, or the prospect of parenthood. And it’s a normal emotion.
Anxiety serves as a positive function of alerting the mind about things you might need to worry about, possibly things that are potentially harmful. More importantly, these emotions not only cause alterations to the mental state but also instigate physical symptoms such as raised heart rate and adrenaline. It allows the body to respond to the situation in an appropriate way. This isperhaps done by quickening our reflexes and focusing our attention to help us evaluate potential threats.
It’s essential to understand that anxiety is likely to affect you only temporarily until the source has passed.You could also possibly learn to cope with it.
The difference between stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are used interchangeably. Stress is felt because of a particular source, such as a tight deadline. It focuses on external pressures that you find hard to cope with. You usually know what’s stressing you out, and the symptoms typically disappear after the situation is resolved. Anxiety, on the other hand, isn’t always that easy to figure out. It focuses on worries or fears about things that could threaten you. It may not have a known trigger either. Sometimes, people feel anxious for no apparent reason.
What happens to the brain when you’re anxious?
The brain is responsible for the production and processing of anxiety. It interprets incoming sensory signals and alerts the rest of the body that a threat is present, triggering a fear – or anxiety – response. Since the brain has already encoded threatening events and experiences into emotional memories, anything similar can reawaken them.
A threat, whether actual or perceived, releases a surge of hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. The body goes into “survival mode,” naturally boosting reflex time, perception, and speed. The heart pumps faster in order to get more blood and oxygen circulating through the body.
This response is helpful and necessary when you face a real threat. But in excess, it can cause long-term damage. The wear and tear to the brain by chronic anxiety could be linked to an increased risk of depression and dementia. It’s also been linked to various physical ailments, such as a weakened immune system, weight gain, and heart disease.
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are a group of different mental illnesses that can interfere with your normal day-to-day life. The constant dread, worry or fear can be overwhelming and disabling. Many times, it is upsetting enough to make individuals feel extremely uncomfortable, out of control, or helpless.
Anxiety disorders may be triggered by traumatic memories, such as irrational hatred of specific objects, situations, or physical locations. The person may also persistently worry about something terrible that might happen in the future. Several defining psychological characteristics of anxiety disorders, such as irritability, difficulty concentrating and depression, become persistent and intrusive. Others also experience physical symptoms, like heart palpitations, sweating, tension, pain, rapid breathing, dizziness, fainting, indigestion, stomach aches, or diarrhea. In acute cases, a person may become entirely dominated by the conditions. This makes it hard to relax, disrupts regular sleep patterns, and impairs their ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, job or relationships.
Anxiety often involves a bundle of interconnected symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders share some general ones:
- A sense of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Inability to relax or concentrate
- Constant worrying or confusion
- Sleep disturbances
- Heart palpitations
- Unable to stay calm and still
- Shortness of breath
- Cold, sweaty, or tingling hands or feet
- Dry mouth
Anxiety progresses into a disorder when the symptoms become chronic, and they interfere with the ability to function in daily life. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. Like any other mental illness, they stem from a complex combination of multiples factors, such as environmental stress, genetics, social cues, or traumatic experiences.
Anxiety disorder includes different conditions. Each impacts mental health in a unique way. Some common types include:
- Panic disorder
Panic is an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to stress, fear, or excitement. It strikes at random and symptoms peak rapidly. Often described as emotional short-circuiting, the brain suddenly takes over the body’s functioning. Adrenaline overwhelms the cognitive functions, preventing the brain from comprehending the real nature of the threat.
- Social anxiety disorder
A person feels overwhelming fear or self-conscious in social situations. They are fixated about judgments that others will make or about being embarrassed or ridiculed.
This is an intense fear of proximity to a specific object, particular situations, or physical locations, such as heights or insects.
- Generalized anxiety disorder
The person exaggeratedly worries about everyday routine life events and activities. They also anticipate the worst even when there is little or no reason to.
At the most basic level, anxiety is a signal that something overwhelmingly awful is about to happen and that the brain needs to employ a defense mechanism in response. Braintest reviews have shown that anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems around the world. Evidence points that it’s widely under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated. If you have symptoms, your doctor will examine you and ask for your medical history to find out what’s causing them. There are no lab tests to diagnose anxiety disorders specifically.
The good news is that the damage incurred from chronic anxiety is treatable. However, the best way to protect your brain and body from the side-effects is to find a way to manage it. This should be done before it begins to affect your health.
Luckily, there are various treatment options for these conditions. Diagnosis depends upon the symptoms and severity of the anxiety that the person experiences. Anxiety disorders can be controlled through a combination of psychotherapy and anti-anxiety medications on an as-needed basis. Take action by joining support groups; it’s a useful and helpful component of treatment. The goal shouldn’t be to dismiss it entirely but to cope with it, making it healthy and manageable. This will help youto get back to a fulfilling life.
Just like happiness, anxiety, and stress are a part of life. But experiencing anxiety or stress does not mean you need to see a professional. In fact, anxiety is important and necessary, warning you of a dangerous or difficult situation. Without anxiety, you wouldn’t anticipate problems and prepare ahead of time for them.