What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural response your body has when stressed, increasing your breathing and heart rate, concentrating blood flow to your brain to prepare your body for an intense situation. It is normal to feel anxiety when faced with stressful situations such as a job interview, your first day of school, awaiting medical test results, etc. Anxiety that becomes excessive or persistent can have devastating effects on your physical and mental health. While everyone may experience anxiety on occasion, chronic anxiety can interfere with your quality of life.
Symptoms that may be caused by anxiety:
- Headaches (due to muscle tension from constant worry and stress)
- Difficulty concentrating (i.e. an inability to focus)
- Irritability (i.e. agitation caused by constant worry)
- Stomach problems (e.g. stomach pains, nausea, and/or diarrhea)
- Fatigue (i.e. loss of sleep, interrupted sleep, or feelings of being wiped-out)
- Muscle aches and pains (i.e. unexplained body soreness or pain)
- Increased blood pressure (blood pressure tends to rise whenever anxious)
- Heart palpitations (i.e. heartbeat quickening in pace and intensity, may be part of a panic attack)
- Breathing problems (i.g. rapid, shallow breathing, may be more intense during a panic attack)
- Loss of libido (i.e. decrease in your sexual desire)
- Sense of doom (i.e. feelings of ‘impending doom’, causing difficulty concentrating)
- Panic attacks (heart palpitations, chest pains, lightheadedness and, sometimes, difficulty with visual clarity or coherent speech)
- Depression (chronic anxiety can increase your risk for depression)
When anxiety is extreme, lasts for longer than six months, and interferes with daily life, that indicates an anxiety disorder. For someone with an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear may be with them all the time, which could be intense and incapacitating. People suffering from an anxiety disorder may stop doing things they enjoy because of this debilitating fear. In extreme cases, they may not feel capable of doing every-day things, such as ride an elevator, cross a street, or even leave their home. Untreated anxiety could worsen over time.
Anxiety disorders can affect anyone at any age; they are the most common form of an emotional disorder. Anxiety is also a key characteristic of several different disorders.
The most common anxiety disorder are :
- General Anxiety Disorder, characterized by excessive, long-lasting anxiety that does not seem to be tied to a singular event or situation.
- Panic Disorder is a form of anxiety disorder that causes recurring panic attacks, usually at unexpected times, which can cause the individual to live in constant fear of future attacks (i.e. fear of having a panic attack while in public or driving).
- Phobias are anxiety disorders characterized by excessive fears, specific things or situations (e.g. fear of spiders or of leaving the house).
- Social Anxiety Disorder often causes extreme fear of judgment from others during social situations.
This is just a list of a few anxiety disorders; talk to your provider about your specific thoughts or feelings and they’ll help you figure out the best treatment option for you.
At Wholesome Psychiatry we focus on helping patients with anxiety disorder feel empowered and more in control. Wholesome Psychiatry expert treatment targets anxiety symptoms with psychopharmacology and therapy, which can rapidly restore the quality of life, in both professional and personal arenas, and lead to full remission of symptoms.