Anxiety: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Prevention & Treatment

What is Anxiety? 

Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, unease or worry that typically occurs in the absence of an imminent threat. Anxiety is not fear. Fear is defined as the body’s natural response to immediate danger, which is natural to all.

Anxiety is part of the body’s natural reaction to stress. All of us may become anxious at times due to varying reasons, which is fine. At times, anxiety is helpful as well, as it makes you more alert, focused, and ready to take charge and act for the purpose. For example, students when preparing for an exam or a player in the field during a match.  

Therefore, anxiety disorders and normal feelings of anxiousness are two different things. Many of us get anxious when faced with a particular situation, which is fine. We may come under stress and in some time it subsides too; however, when these feelings do not subside and persist, then anxiety could be more chronic. When feelings of fear or nervousness become excessive or difficult to control or interfere with our daily lives, an anxiety disorder cannot be ruled out. Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric conditions these days, especially in urban geographies in India.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

It is not only a mental state but is being exhibited as a physical state too. Your heart beats faster, your breathing speeds up, little toughness in the chest, and you may experience sweating. Any thoughts, or feelings during a stressful situation are not restricted to the mental level only, but they start to reflect at the physical level too.   

Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorders are:

  • Anticipating worst
  • Feelings of apprehension
  • Irritability
  • Tremors or twitches
  • Frequent urination or maybe diarrhoea
  • Nausea or upset stomach

Effect of Anxiety on Your Mind:

  • Feel tensed, nervous, or find it difficult to relax
  • Feels like, you can't stop worrying or that bad things will happen if you stop worrying
  • Feels like low mood, most of the time
  • You may worry about anxiety itself, for example worrying about when panic attacks might happen
  • You may worry, that you're losing touch with reality
  • You may want reassurance from others or worrying that people are angry or upset with you
  • You may feel disconnected from your mind or body, at times
  • You may feel disconnected from the world around you or as if the world is not real

Effect of Anxiety on Your Body:

  • You may feel restless or unable to sit still
  • You may experience faster breathing
  • Fast, thumping, or irregular heartbeat
  • May experience sweating
  • A churning feeling in your stomach
  • May experience headaches, backache, or other aches and pains
  • May experience sleep problems
  • Nausea, feeling sick
  • May want to go to the washroom, more often
  • May experience panic attach

Primary causes of Anxiety Disorders

There could be various factors responsible for anxiety and at times combinations. 

  • Family history 

Someone in the family with anxiety increases the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder.  

  • Stress 

Can be a cause associated with the development of anxiety, whether it’s a major stressor such as a serious illness or the ongoing stress caused by work issues, financial and family conflicts chronic health problems, or others.

Traumatic events 

Children who have endured abuse of any kind during childhood, like physical, emotional sexual, or other traumatic experiences are more likely to develop anxiety disorders.  Adults exposed to traumatic experiences can also develop overwhelming anxiety.

  • Drug or alcohol 

Use of drugs, misuse, or withdrawal may cause anxiety.

  • Brain structure 

Changes in the areas that regulate stress and anxiety may contribute to the disorder. People can also learn to be anxious in various situations.  

Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition in which your worries about a wide range of things overwhelm you to the point where your daily routine may be difficult to carry out.  This state, if it prevails for over six months, then it qualifies for GAD. You may feel on the edge and have difficulty focusing on tasks. There may be a tendency to fear and expect the worst.  You may know that your worries are perhaps irrational, but you continue to worry. 

Panic Disorder

Human beings do come across situations of panic in their day-to-day life, at times in several years. Example: going to make an important presentation wherein the stakes are high, after realizing you hit reply all when you really, really should not have. These situations have the potential to put you in a state of panic, for some time until some solution is not met. 

But panic attacks and panic disorder take a different shape. Panic attacks have many physical symptoms and tend to peak around 10 minutes and may last for 30 or more. Panic disorder is diagnosed by having recurrent, unexpected panic frequency of these attacks, along with unhelpful changes in behavior and/or the fear of having them. 

Social Anxiety Disorder

Many times it is obvious what it feels like to be nervous before an important gathering, meeting new people in a strange setup, etc.  Those with social anxiety disorder have very intense versions of those fears — intense fears of being judged by others, that trigger intense distress and may cause them to avoid those kinds of situations. For most people, fears of social situations usually subside once the intimidating event has been confronted or experienced. However, in social anxiety disorder, these feelings are more pervasive and usually last for up to six months. 

What should you do when you experience Anxiety?

When you realize that the symptoms of anxiety and the associated behaviors are having a detrimental impact on your well-being and your day-to-day functioning, you must consult a Counsellor, Psychologist, or Therapist to seek assistance.  Avoiding or ignoring severe symptoms is not a good idea.

Treatment for Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are treated through therapy and with medication, as deemed fine by the Practitioner. There is nothing wrong with meeting an expert and sharing things you are feeling and thinking.  

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that offers people strategies to help change the negative thought patterns that have reinforced their anxiety.

For Anxiety disorder treatment, get in touch with our Experts for online counseling sessions. How to control anxiety is not the right approach, instead reflection on it under the guidance of experts is the right approach. 


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