Anxiety disorder is a condition characterized by the presence of fear, stress, and anxiety. Anxiety disorder is divided on the basis of the cause of anxiety. Causes of anxiety disorder include stress, alcohol, certain medications, and chronic illness. The condition is diagnosed through physical examination and psychological tests.
Following are the types of anxiety disorders:
- Post-traumatic disorder: This type of anxiety develops when the patient experiences a frightening event. The event may either be related to the patient himself such as accident, threatening and natural disaster or the patient witnessed such events.
- Panic disorder: Anxiety strikes the patient due to intense fear. The patient panicked due to terror and symptoms such as heavy sweating, palpitations, rapid heart rate, and chest pain.
- Social anxiety disorder: It is also known as social phobia. This type of anxiety develops when the patient is asked to become social and this type of situation is normal for another person.
- Generalized anxiety disorder: This type of anxiety occurs due to u wanted worry even when there is nothing to worry about.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Unwanted thoughts and compulsory behavior are the characteristics of this type of anxiety disorder.
- Specific-phobia anxiety: This phobia varies from person to person. Some people felt anxious while flying while anxiety develops in some people due to heights.
- Stress: Stress causes various changes in the physical and mental factors that lead to the development of anxiety disorders. Patient has a history of stressful events are more likely to develop anxiety disorders.
- Medications: Various medications have side effects of causing anxiety disorders. These medications include steroids, asthma medication, and medications used for various neurological problems such as ADHD.
- Thyroid gland: Anxiety is highly prevalent in the patient with the underactive thyroid gland. This is more of a psychological process as there is a relation between the underactive thyroid gland and psychiatric problems.
- Caffeine: Caffeine, due to its psychoactive property, aggravates anxiety. Caffeine causes insomnia and increases the concentration of stress hormones.
- Alcohol: Drinking high quantity of alcohol increases the anxiety episodes. Alcohol worsens anxiety by altering the levels of neurotransmitters and serotonin.
- Personality factors: Personality traits and family environment is also a major source of anxiety disorder. Some people are highly confident during public speaking while some suffer from anxiety disorder due to the difference in their personality.
- Family history: A history of mental illness in the family is also responsible for the development of anxiety disorder.
- Prolonged illness: Chronic illness also increases the development of anxiety. It has been concluded in a study that the patients suffering from cancer experiences distress and suffered from panic disorder.
The symptoms of anxiety disorder depend upon the type of anxiety patient is suffering from. Following are the general symptoms of anxiety disorders:
- The patient feels excessive worry which is disproportionate to the actual trigger.
- The patient experiences a rapid pulse, high sweat, and dry mouth.
- The patient suffering from anxiety disorder has prolonged restlessness.
- The patient began to develop social isolation and avoid public interactions.
- The patient suffers difficulty sleeping due to anxiety.
- Poor concentration and poor memory are also the symptoms of anxiety disorder.
- Patient of anxiety disorders also feels irritated.
How to diagnose
Following are the diagnostic methods used by the physician to diagnose anxiety disorders:
- Physical examination: Physical examination of the patient is conducted to get an idea about the existence of anxiety disorders. Various parameters that are incorporated in physical examination includes the intake of alcohol and smoking, current medications, amount of caffeine intake and the presence of any chronic disease.
- Tests: If the physician, during the physical examination, came to know about the chronic disease, he may order the diagnostic test to check the status of the disease.
- Family history: It has been seen that family environment and family history significantly impact the occurrence of stress. The family history of mental illness increases the risk of developing anxiety disorders.
- Psychological tests: Various psychological tests are available to determine the exact mental health of the patient. Hamilton Anxiety Scale contains 14 questions that rate the mood, tension and anxiety level of the patient. Beck Anxiety Inventory contains 21 multiple choice questions to evaluate the symptoms experienced by the patient.
Risk neglecting Anxiety disorder
- Overall ill health: Prolonged anxiety disorder take a toll on the overall health of the patient. The patient is under continuous stress that severely impacts various vital body processes.
- Poor mental health: The person with unmanaged anxiety disorder have poor mental health such as poor concentration and dementia.
- Social isolation: The anxious person detaches himself from society and feels isolated without any public interaction.
- Functional impairment: Functional impairment also develops in people with neglected anxiety disorder. It is due to the fact that anxiety disorders cause tense muscles.
- Insomnia: Insomnia is also caused by people who continuously worries without any appropriate reason.
The stages of anxiety are divided on the basis of presentation of symptoms. In early-stage anxiety, symptoms just began to appear. In mild stage anxiety, the symptoms are distressing but do not affect the routine functions. Moderate anxiety is characterized by more severe symptoms and the patient tries hard to complete the routine task. High level of fear exists in this people suffering from severe anxiety and the lifestyle is significantly impaired. These patients are generally on the medications of anxiety and should be supported by counseling.
- Brown rice
- Plenty of water
- Perform yoga and meditation to remain stress-free.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Take a healthy diet
- Identify symptoms at an early stage
- Developing interpersonal skills or communication skills
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if:
- You have symptoms not managed with medication.
- You have severe side effects with medications.
- You have abnormal thoughts.
- You feel that your condition is deteriorating.