Anxiety

Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and More

Anxiety

Anxiety is a category of mental disorders that leads to overthinking, fear and restlessness. It is a feeling of afraid, fear, and discomfort. It is a normal part of life for many people. It may cause a feeling of restlessness and tension and increases your heartbeat.

It is a normal stress reaction. For example, you feel anxious before making any tough decision and plan. It is a temporary disorder; you can cure it. But with time, it can get worsen. Anxiety symptoms can interfere with your daily activities or routine.

Types of anxiety

There are types of anxiety disorders, including;

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): People with this disorder get worried about ordinary issues such as;
  • Money
  • Health
  • Work
  • Family
  1. Panic disorder: Panic disorder arrives with panic attacks. People get sudden, repeated, and intense episodes of fear. Panic attacks come quickly and can last several minutes.
  2. Phobias: Fear of little things like flying, spiders, and going out in crowded places (social effect). Intense fear can be a phobia that poses little or no danger.
  3. Selective Mutism: Fear of failure in which a child does not speak in certain conditions, like school and at home in the family. It can interfere with school tasks, work, and social functions.
  4. Agoraphobia: People with an intense fear of two or more conditions, such as;
  • Being in open spaces/social
  • Using public transport
  • Standing in crowded places or lines
  • Going outside from home alone
  1. Separation anxiety disorder: Fear of losing someone who is attached to you too much. Panic attacks of thoughts due to overthinking of separation from someone.

Causes of anxiety

The primary reasons for anxiety are unknown. Some of the factors have a significant role in individuals’ anxiety such as;

  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Brain biology and chemistry
  • Environment
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Misuse of drugs
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Chronic pain
  • Rare tumors that produce certain hormones, like fight-or-flight.

Symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety can have different symptoms. Anxious thoughts and beliefs are hard to control.

  • Feeling of restlessness
  • Tension
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Unexplained pain and aches
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in behavior
  • Feeling nervous
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Feeling tired
  • feel trouble concentrating or thinking about anything
  • Urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
  • Muscles tension
  • Difficulty in controlling feelings of worry

Risk factors of anxiety

Risk factors vary according to different conditions. The social effect may be equal in men and women, but GAD and phobias are more common in women. General risk factors are following;

  • Personality traits like shyness or withdrawal when coming into a new situation or meeting with new people.
  • Family history of anxiety and any other mental disorder.
  • Traumatic events/attacks in childhood or adulthood develop an anxiety disorder.
  • Physical conditions also affect, such as thyroid problems or arrhythmias.
  • Other mental health disorders depress you and your lifestyle.
  • Misuse of drugs and alcohol worsens your anxiety.
  • Having a severe health illness or condition gives you stress and aggravates anxiety.

Complications

Anxiety disorder leads to worsening your mental and physical conditions, such as;

  • Depression
  • Misuse of drugs
  • Trouble in sleeping (insomnia)
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Chronic pains
  • Suicide
  • Poor quality of life

Prevention form anxiety

Prevention is better than cure. So, prevent yourself from anxiety early by taking the following steps;

  • Seek early help
  • Stay active
  • Avoid alcohol or drug abuse
  • Quit some substances that trigger anxiety

Treatment of anxiety

Primary treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy (talk method/therapy), medicines, or both;

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

It is a psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorder. This treatment teaches you different ways of thinking and behaving. It can help you how to react in different situations and lessen your fear and anxiety. It may have exposure therapy. With this treatment, you feel good and feel no fear in facing various new conditions.

Medicines

Many anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicines are available in the pharmacy, which may work for a specific type of anxiety disorder. You must go to your doctor to discuss your health concerns and get prescriptions that suit you. You may need to try one or more medicines before finding the best one. Beta-blockers are mostly used to lower high blood pressure. It can relieve physical symptoms like shaking, trembling, rapid heartbeat, and blushing. They are also used to treat acute anxiety.

Meditation

Meditation and stress management techniques can help people reduce their anxiety and depression. It can calm them and may enhance the effectiveness of therapy.

Best foods to treat anxiety

Changing lifestyle and eating habits can cure anxiety. Some foods are found very effective in treating or reducing anxiety or stress.

  • Brazil nuts: It has the highest source of selenium and antioxidants that reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage. It also contains Vitamin E that treats anxiety.
  • Fatty fish: fish has Omega-3 fatty acids that improve cognitive and mental health. Omega-3 rich foods contain Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which provides two essential/crucial fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These essential fatty acids reduce inflammation, promote brain functions, and improve mental health.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency can cause depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. So, you must take vitamin D-enriched food to prevent the potential risk of anxiety.
  • Eggs: Eggs are abundant in protein and vitamin D that contain essential nutrients and minerals necessary for growth and development. Eggs also contain tryptophan which creates serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to improve sleep, mood, memory, and behavior.
  • Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are an excellent potassium source that regulates electrolyte balance and blood pressure. Consuming potassium-rich foods (like bananas) reduce anxiety and stress. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc which is vital for brain development.
  • Dark chocolates: Studies show that eating dark chocolate (40g) can reduce the risk of stress and anxiety in females.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin, reducing inflammation, anxiety, and depression specifically in obese adults.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation, depression, stress, and anxiety.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt contains good bacteria that positively affect our brain health. Research suggests that it reduces chronic inflammation and anxiety/stress.
  • Green Tea: Green tea has theanine that has anti-anxiety and calming properties. It also increases the production/release of dopamine and serotonin.
  • Avocado: Avocados contain Vitamin B6, essential for brain functions and mental health.

Tips for preventing anxiety

You must take the following actions when fear strikes;

  • Avoid caffeine (anxiety inducer).
  • Avoid alcohol: It changes the level of serotonin and neurotransmitters in the brain that make stress worsen.
  • Use fragrances: Lavender oil has calming properties
  • Regular exercise: Anxiety caused by a buildup of adrenaline. Exercise can help you use up extra adrenaline and lower the production of stress hormones.
  • Drink more water: Dehydration causes panic attacks. Drink enough water to satisfy yourself.
  • Turn off your mobile/computer/laptop: Spend some alone time for yourself, do some activities, write down something, go to the gym, and shop for some groceries.
  • Eat something: You should eat something which is easy to digest and makes you feel happy. Take a well-balanced diet.
  • Take a shower: Take a shower to relax your muscles and mind.
  • Seek counseling: It helps you to prevent panic attacks by knowing how to stop anxiety.
  • Deep breathing: breathing in and out relaxes you.

It Is OK Not To Be OK!

It Is OK To Ask For Help!

You Are Not Alone!

Take The First Step.

A Whole New World Awaits.

 

References

  • https://medlineplus.gov/anxiety.html#:~:text=Anxiety%20is%20a%20feeling%20of,before%20making%20an%20important%20decision retrieved on January 13, 2022.
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961 retrieved on January 13, 2022.
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961 retrieved on January 13, 2022.
  • https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders retrieved on January 13, 2022.
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652 retrieved on January 13, 2022.
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