Are you an anxious person?
Anxiety disorders are represented by a high range of issues. In this category are included the following forms of anxiety : generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, specific phobia ( eg : fear of open or closed spaces, fear of insects), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress.
Nowadays, anxiety is a very common problem. About 25% of the globe population are known to suffer from anxiety, which would require treatment in a certain moment of their lives. To this we add another high figure represented by those who have a less severe form of anxiety ( eg : fear of mice or spiders).
The difference between anxiety and fear
During our existence, each of us has gone through experiences of intense fear – which is actually a normal human reaction that helps us deal better with danger. But some people live a very intense and irrational feeling of fear which is not justified by the presence of dangerous situations.
An anxious person tends to have a constant feeling of fear that interferes with his daily activities. This may indicate the presence of anxiety disoders. Thus, the anxiety represents a very intense and unjustified fear, as there is no dangerous situation.
Symptoms of anxiety disorder
The main characteristic of anxiety is the feeling of fear and/ or the constant chronic and recurrent thoughts of concernment which represent elements of stress for the person and that disturbe her actions. For example, there are persons who are afraid to go to interviews because they should interact with strangers and they choose to avoid these situations, fearing that they are not as intelligent as to get a job.
Other symptoms common to all types of anxiety are:
Physical uncontrolled reactions, such as sweating, tremors, fast heartbeat, difficult breathing, nausea, fainting.
Dysfunctional thoughts – for example: “ If I talk in front of an audience and make mistakes, everybody will think I’m stupid.”
Avoidance behaviour – a person who suffers from anxiety can get to avoid many situations. The fact that she has irrational negative thoughts and she evaluates in a wrong way the situations that make her anxious, place the person in a vicious circle from which she cannot escape. A common case can be that of a student who is very anxious while presenting his paper in front of an audience.
Even if he has studied all week in order to create an extraordinary presentation of his work, he feels anxious, wishing everything to be perfect because otherwise, the teachers will believe that he is an ignorant. These thoughts provoked intense emotions that caused little obvious mistakes during his presentation – which he then interpreted them as being catastrophic errors, making him not to want to present a paper in front of people ever again.
Types of anxiety disorders
Generalized anxiety disorder – it’s the exaggerated fear and constant concernment about common things. The center of this feeling may be represented by friends, family, health, work, money or anything that is important for the individual. In addition, the person has one or more of the following symptoms: irritability, fatigue, insomnia or concentration problems.
Social phobia – It consists of fear of negative evaluation of other people. Therefore, people who suffer from social phobia are afraid to do something that might humiliate them in front of an audience (speaking in public, using public toilets, eating or drinking in front of other people, etc.) This type of fear can lead to issolation.
Specific Phobias – A person who has a specific phobia feels a persistent and irrational fear because of an object or situation. Fear may arise because of certain animals, places or people and can be so intense that the person will have physical symptoms or intense panic attacks.
Panic Disorder is often mistaken for panic attacks, which are very frequent. Panic attacks may not be related to a specific situation and are usually spontaneous. If a person has 4 or more panic attacks during a month, she should be diagnosed with panic disorder. Panic disorder is correctly diagnosed only if panic attacks are frequent and the peson feels a persistent fear of another panic attack occurrence.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder – People suffering from this disorder have obsessive thoughts or intrusive and unwanted impulses. At the same time, they feel the need to perform mental and behavioral rituals, such as frequent showers (several times a day), excessive hand washing, checking certain things (if they locked the door, if the stove is off, etc). Moreover, they are aware of the irrationality of their behavior and thoughts.
Post traumatic stress disorder – occurs after a highly traumatic event. The event may be recent ( a physical abuse, a car accident) or can be something that happened in the past. Grief, anger or shock are normal reactions after traumatic events. People with PTSD have thoughts and feelings which dramatically affect their daily existence. Usually, they begin to avoid situations or events that remind them of their trauma.
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