Anxiety disorder affects many people around the world and is particularly common in Western and other industrialized countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.
In the US, anxiety disorders rank highly in the long list of mental health problems experienced by many individuals on a daily basis. Medical studies show that there are about 28 million persons who suffer from anxiety disorder every year. This condition may interfere with an individual's work, studies, or family life. In America, these mental health conditions have been closely linked to high rates of alcohol and substance abuse.
Individuals who suffer from anxiety disorder tend to tire easily, lack concentration, depression, and sleep disorder. Physical symptoms may include sweating, nausea, dizziness, stomach upset stomach, trembling, frequent need to urinate, muscle tension, and many more. About 90 percent of individuals who suffer from anxiety disorder have histories of depression, social anxiety, alcohol or drug abuse.
Medical studies suggest that there are six types of anxiety disorders in the adult population:
- Panic Disorders - The primary symptom of panic disorder is the occurrence of panic attacks combined with fear of developing them again.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - This disorder is characterized by unwanted, interfering thoughts or repetitive behaviors that reflects a patient's attempts to control it.
- Phobias - It is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain, objects, activities, or persons. The primary symptoms of this condition is excessive, unreasonable, intention to factors that bring fear.
- Stress Disorders - This condition is centered on negative reactions to traumatic events in a patient's life.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This condition is characterized by irrational worry about everyday, normal things like work, health, money, and other daily concerns. People who suffer from GAD are often irritable and suffer from fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension.
- Anxiety disorder due to physical causes. These include general medical conditions or developed because of substance abuse.
The causes and symptoms of anxiety vary from person to person and may produce physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral symptoms. An individual's ethnic or cultural background may also play a key role in the development of certain forms of anxiety. Genetic factors that may lead to biochemical imbalance in the brain also influence the development of this condition. Medical researchers suggest that individuals who are exposed to abuse, violence, and poverty may lead to the development of anxiety disorder.
Sessions of psychotherapy may be enough to treat mild anxiety disorders. Many health professionals however encourage the use of medications coupled with psychotherapy to treat patients with severe cases of anxiety disorders. Because of many medications and treatment for anxiety disorders doctors may not be able to predict which combination is beneficial for a certain individual. There are cases that doctors may try a different medication or treatment over a period of six to eight weeks in order to assess their effectiveness.
Many health professionals encourage individuals affected with anxiety disorder to engage in physical activities like weight training, cardiovascular exercises, yoga, and other physical activities. These activities may help relieve anxiety and emotional tensions. In addition, these activities promote the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers.
These substances are produced by the brain and may help promote a state of bliss and relaxation. Individuals who are affected by anxiety disorders should seek the help of health professionals so that they can develop a treatment plan for their condition.