For most people, anxiety is a temporary reaction to stress. It becomes a disorder only when it persists and prevents you from leading a normal life.
Some anxiety states are caused by severe stress, but in some people only slight stress may be involved. The stress may be cumulative. People who have "free-floating" anxiety live in a constant state of apparently causeless anxiety. In reality they are not aware of the actual cause, which may be unconscious.
Mental health professionals have found that there are several different anxiety disorders. These include phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders. If you have an episode of anxiety, you will probably feel apprehensive and tense, and be unable to concentrate, to think clearly, or to sleep well. You may have frightening dreams and occasional symptoms of fear such as a pounding heart, sweating palms, trembling, or diarrhea. Some people in a state of anxiety find it hard to breathe, as if their lungs are under constant pressure. And they may become convinced that they have heart or stomach trouble when in fact they are physically healthy. A man may have trouble maintaining an erection or may have premature ejaculation. In "panic attacks,"which can occur at any time, the symptoms occur suddenly and intensify alarmingly, in a vicious cycle of escalating symptoms.
What are the risk?
Anxiety disorders are very common. They are slightly more common in women than men, and adolescents and older people are especially susceptible. If severe anxiety is not treated, depression may result.
What should be done?
If your anxiety is caused by a specific stress, try to understand what's causing it. If you cannot find a way to deal with the stress, or if you're severe anxiety persist, consult your physician, who will examine you to see whether he or she can help with standard medical treatment. If not, you may be referred to a mental health professional. The first time you have an anxiety attack, you may think you are having a heart attack. To be on the safe side, call your physician. If here she is not available, call for help to get you to a hospital emergency department.
What is the treatment?
Various methods of relaxation can lessen the severity of anxiety symptoms. When you feel tense or troubled, try doing relaxation exercises or some physical activity such as swimming, jogging, or brisk walking. Your physician may suggest that you talk to a mental health professional to look into the causes of your anxiety. The mental health professional will determine which of the anxiety disorders you have and recommend treatment. Various forms of psychotherapy are often helpful, as are medications such as anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants. Usually a combination of therapy and drug treatments is helpful to people with anxiety disorders.
What are the long-term prospects?
You need to understand the causes of anxiety to treat it, so it may be necessary to see a mental health professional to help you understand the psychological conflicts involved. You may be able to avoid symptoms, or at least minimize them, by continuing to do relaxation exercises even when you are not actively anxious. Maintain contact with your physician or mental health professional so he or she can respond to your needs if your attacks are recurring.
Common Anxiety Attack Symptoms include:
A feeling of impending doom, that something horrible is about to happen, that you are in grave danger - A strong feeling of fear, foreboding - An urge to escape, to get out, to run away from danger - Blanching, turning white, looking pale - Blushing, skin blotches, turning red - Burning skin, Choking sensation, tightening throat, it feels like your throat is closing –Confusion - De-personalization (feeling detached from reality, separate from one-self, separate from normal emotions) – De-realization (feeling unreal, in a dream-like state) - Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness - Emotional distress - Emotional upset - Fear of going crazy - Fear of losing control, freaking out - Fearful thoughts that seem incessant - Feels like there is a tight band around your head - Hot or cold chills - Inability to calm yourself down - Knot in the stomach, tight stomach – Nausea - Numbness, tingling sensations in any part of the body - Panicky feeling - Pins and needles feeling - Plugged ear(s), stuffed ear(s) - Pounding heart - Racing heart - Shooting pains in the chest, neck, shoulder, head, or face - Shortnessof breath, difficulty breathing – Sweating - Tightness in the chest - Trembling, shaking (visibly shaking or just trembling on the inside) - Upset stomach - Urgent desire to go to the bathroom (urinate, defecate) – Vomiting
There is a long list of anxiety symptoms. Remember that, each body is chemically unique, so anxiety affects each person differently. Consequently, anxiety symptoms vary from person to person along with the type or kind, number, intensity, and frequency. If your symptoms don’t exactly match this list, that doesn't mean you don’t have anxiety. It simply means that your body is responding to anxiety slightly differently.