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Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health). Technically it is a reaction to tension that has both physical and psychological characteristics. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, but when it becomes constant and overwhelming you have a disorder.

Anxiety Disorders are a genre of various fears that include the following amongst others phobias, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and generalize anxiety disorder. Two other main categories that be part of the others but can stand alone; obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

General anxiety disorder is excessive anxiety for no apparent reason lasting for 6 or more months. It usually starts with an exaggerated worry about health, safety, money, and host of other topics.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, is punctuated by people who are overwhelmed with the desire to perform rituals repeatedly. These compulsive acts are a mechanism to alleviate their anxiety generated by thoughts.

Phobias show up with people who fear an object or situation like spiders or heights. It is totally irrational but it feels real.

Post Traumatic occurs when the sufferer has viewed or experienced something traumatic. They suffer from tormented memories, vivid dreams, and often flashbacks.

Social anxiety disorder centers on the fear of being publicly humiliated or social situations. Over 15 million North Americans suffer from this. Essentially, the sufferer has an overwhelming self-consciousness that is real or imagined.

Panic disorder manifest with feelings of anxiety, terror, or impending doom.

These disorders can affect anyone at any age. They usually triggered by a specific event or a stressful life experience. Another attribute is that they can vary in degree and intensity – they are real and do impinge on a person’s enjoyment of life.

The more intense your responses to the episodes, combined with frequency can seriously impact your physical health. Some of the symptoms include:

a sense of embarrassment, danger or doom, trembling

an unrealistic view of problems

trembling, dizziness, muscle pain, fatigue, fidgeting

shortness of breath, headaches

excessive perspiration

feeling cold or overheated

numbness or tingling in the hands

rapid heartbeat, palpitations

chest pain

rapid breathing, hyperventilating

and insomnia, poor concentration, angry outbursts and heightened startle response

How can you get help for these debilitating conditions? Start with your family physician ask them if they can recommend you to a good psychiatrist or psychologist. It is not that you are crazy, far from it. You are suffering from a condition that altered how the synapses and communication is occurring in your sub-conscious. You may be helped with medication, support groups, and self-help strategies.

How can you support a loved one?

Here are some general tips.

Remind yourself that the illness is the problem—anger, frustration, or behaviours related to anxiety are nobody’s fault. Just be there for them

Be patient—learning and practicing new coping strategies takes time. Take a step back and realize that the one you love is still there, they just need your support.

If your loved one is learning new skills, offer to help them practice. Connecting on their level is important.

Listen and offer support, but avoid pushing unwanted advice. Your loved one does not care how much you know or what ideas you have, they just want to know how much you care.

Set boundaries and seek support for yourself, if needed.

If other family members are affected by a loved one’s anxiety disorder, consider seeking family counselling.

 Anxiety Relief

Unbelievably 30% of all suffers don’t get treatment. Please do, the only person that you are robbing of a great life is yourself.

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