Overview – Anxiety Disorders, Part 2
As pointed out in Anxiety Disorders Part 1, anxiety disorders are said to be the most common mental disorders on Planet Earth—affecting 1 in every 13 persons worldwide. Some estimates suggest that women are twice as likely as men to experience anxiety disorders. In fact, people have been talking about anxiety since the 17th Century at least, when it was considered a pathological condition. Modern psychiatry is said to have used the word anxiety since at least 1904.
The words “worry and anxiety” are really synonyms. They mean the same thing. You may remember that worry is typically linked with the emotion of fear. Feeling scared or frightened is in some way part of each Anxiety Disorder. Each involves feelings of worry and fear that do not seem to go away. In fact, they may grow worse over time. In all likelihood, everyone worries about someone or something sometime.
Worry and anxiety differ from a valid or healthy concern about a given problem, which tends to lead a person toward finding a solution. Worry does not lead toward a solution. When human beings worry about potential circumstances or events, significantly out of proportion to the actual threat involved—or even when there is no real threat at all—it can become an anxiety disorder.
Glenn Turner has been quoted as saying: Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.
Anxiety Disorders, Part 2, presents information on four different types of Anxiety, one type each day for four days.
Several parts of the brain, as well as biological processes, play a key role in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think that people with panic disorder misinterpret harmless bodily sensations as threats. A diagnosis may be made when the symptoms are not believed related to substance use or other medical or psychiatric conditions.
A panic attack may occur when someone is excessively worried about something. It can also occur while engaged in an enjoyable activity or even while relaxing or sleeping—because your subconscious mind never sleeps and is processing in the background. Panic disorder can interfere with daily living, causing people to miss work, go to many doctor visits, and avoid situations where they fear they might experience a panic attack.
Agoraphobia can be described as an abnormal fear of being helpless in a situation from which escape could be difficult or embarrassing. Agoraphobia is classified as a phobia along with specific phobia and social phobia. It is also classed as an anxiety disorder that can result in panic attacks. Simply thinking about being in a situation where the individual believes that it might be difficult to escape or that it would be hard to get help if needed can trigger worry and fear. Common fears include using public transportation, being in a large crowd, being away from home alone, being in open or in enclosed spaces, and even standing in line. Some people develop a fixed route or territory, and it may become impossible for them to travel beyond their safety zones without suffering severe anxiety. No one cause has been identified.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is believed to be the most common anxiety disorder in the United States. It is characterized by excessive anxiety or worry, both of which are part of the emotion of fear. Many are under the mistaken belief that panic attacks are part and parcel of all anxiety disorders. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is different. Typically, no panic attacks are associated with this condition. Because of this, without experiencing any panic attacks, some may simply think they are “just worrying too much.” Their struggles with constant worry may be minimized or dismissed and, in turn, not properly diagnosed or treated.
Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder
Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder involves worry and fear because of ingesting specific substances or due to stopping them. The brain makes and contains scores of chemicals to complete tasks required for thinking. Some substances can interfere with these brain chemicals or raise or lower the level of these brain chemicals, which give rise to the symptoms. may involve prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or illegal drugs, some of which can raise or lower levels of brain chemicals, which give rise to symptoms.
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