Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress; however, ongoing anxiety may be the result of a disorder. Web MD reports that anxiety disorders are commonplace in the United States and affect nearly 40 million adults.
Stressful events can make anyone feel a bit anxious. Sometimes, a little worry is helpful, as it can help you get ready for an upcoming situation, but excessive worriers react intensely to these stressful situations. Even thinking about the situation can cause chronic worriers to break out in a sweat. Excessive worry is harmful when it becomes so irrational that you can’t focus.
There are multiple types of anxiety.
While a good majority of people deal with worry or nervousness during some point in their lives, a person who has an anxiety disorder consistently deals with heightened versions of those feelings. People who have significant anxiety “might experience run-of-the-mill situations and events as triggering,” psychologist Stacey Rosenfeld told Mic. “For some with anxiety, just leaving the house can be difficult. For others, the experience might be more nuanced. They might experience significant distress when faced with an oral presentation at school or work, or might have specific phobias, like fears of heights or driving on bridges.”
The difference between an anxiety disorder and the more common feelings of anxiety involve severity, frequency, and how it impacts our lives.
Anxiety is often a physical experience.
According to the Help Guide, anxiety is more than just an emotional or mental feeling. Because anxiety is part of the body’s fight-or-flight response, anxiety involves a range of physical symptoms. Those who have anxiety often mistake their disorder for a medical illness when that isn’t the case. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include a pounding heart, sweating, upset stomach, dizziness, frequent urination or diarrhea, shortness of breath, tremors and twitches, muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
There are treatments available.
Since anxiety takes a different form in each person it affects, your doctor must carefully evaluate your symptoms in order to give you a proper diagnosis. According to Healthline, anxiety disorders can be treated with medication, cognitive therapy, or behavioral therapy. Often, a combination of treatments is the best course of action.
The Anxiety Centre suggests that the most effective treatment for anxiety disorder is the combination of self-help information, support, and therapy by therapists who have experience in the subject area. Treatment for anxiety disorders should be viewed as long term. In most cases, treatment for anxiety is successful, allowing patients to lead full, productive lives.