Anxiety disorders are real medical conditions— as genuine and serious as physical diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 264 million people worldwide are living with anxiety disorders. 

 

What are anxiety disorders? 

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of nervousness, panic, uneasiness, and fear.  

 

Why does anxiety happen? 

Researchers have not been able to pinpoint one single cause of anxiety. It is a result of complex interactions between your external environment, your mental state, social factors, lifestyle choices, genes, and brain chemicals to name a few.  

 

 

Types of anxiety disorders  

These include: 

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)– It is characterized by persistent distress, nervousness, and worry.  
  • Panic Disorder- It is identified by sudden and recurrent fear attacks and the inability to function. 
  • Phobias- These are defined as intense fears of certain things, places, or situations. 
  • Social Anxiety Disorder-It is described as an overwhelming fear of social situations where embarrassment may occur. 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-It is typically identified by having unwanted thoughts and an urge to perform repetitive behaviors to ease anxiety. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-It is caused by a traumatic event and is marked by nightmares, flashbacks, trouble sleeping or concentrating, irritability, or outbursts of anger. 
  • Separation anxiety disorder (in children)-It involves excessive fear of being separated from family members or loved ones. 
  • Illness anxiety disorder (formerly hypochondria)-It involves an excessive preoccupation with having a serious illness despite medical evidence confirming otherwise. 

 

Symptoms of anxiety 

Anxiety can manifest in different intensity levels based on the trigger. Here are some general symptoms of anxiety disorders:
 

  • Physical symptoms like  
  • Chest pain  
  • Sweating 
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Numbness 
  • Palpitations 
  • Shortness of breath, and more. 

 

  • Behavioral symptoms like 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Inability to stay calm 
  • Constant thoughts of fear, uneasiness, and panic 
  • Nightmares 
  • Flashbacks
  • Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts 
  • Mood fluctuations 

 

Risk factors for anxiety disorders 

  • Family history: People with a genetic predisposition for anxiety disorders may be more likely to develop one. Having a family member who also has an anxiety disorder can increase your risk as well. 
  • Previous history: If you have had an anxiety disorder in the past, or you are currently dealing with anxiety, you’re at a higher risk of having another episode later. There’s also a significant overlap between depression and anxiety disorders: people diagnosed with depression are three to five times more likely to experience an anxiety disorder than people without depression.  
  • Personal history: A history of abuse, trauma and stressful events are associated with an increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder. 

 

How to find help for anxiety 

If you have an anxiety attack, the first thing to do is take a few moments to calm down. If you’re experiencing physical symptoms, remind yourself that they are only temporary and will pass. It may also help to: 

  • Take slow, deep breaths 
  • Talk yourself through the situation 
  • Step away from the stressful environment if this is possible 

If your anxiety or panic attacks are becoming more frequent or severe, it’s important to see your GP as soon as possible.   

Anxiety can get a lot better with the right kind of help. 

Remember, anxiety can be treated. Like other health problems, the sooner you seek help, the easier it is to deal with it. Talk to us @ 718-DORAL-55.