We have all felt anxious at some time, whether we call it feeling uneasy, on edge, or uptight. It is perfectly natural to feel anxiety and, in fact, to some degree, it can have good effects such as toning us up for a big match or sharpening awareness for interviews or exams.
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But some forms of anxiety are not as healthy as others. If you get mildly worked up before an exam, that can be beneficial. However, if you cannot sleep well the night before, or begin to sweat profusely and feel nauseated as you enter the examination hall, this is a more serious anxiety attack and if you find that this is part of a continuing pattern, you should seek help.
What is Disorder?
Our reaction to stress is an inbuilt survival mechanism that originally enabled us to act instantly when our lives were threatened. To prepare for action, the heartbeat strengthens to pump blood to all the muscles, and blood pressure rises.
When action has been taken and the danger is over or the problem resolved, the body relaxes and returns to normal once more. But when the threat is low-level and continuous as is common in the emotionally stressful situations of modern living, often no direct action can be taken to deal with it and the body will suffer the effects of long-term tension.
Secondary anxiety symptoms can develop; these can include skin rashes, spots, weight problems (under or overweight). Strangely enough, those suffering from anxiety can also experience either increased aggression or the reverse effect, becoming completely inhibited, withdrawn, and even extremely depressed.
Kinds of Anxiety
Anxiety takes many forms. Some have obvious causes, as a fear of dogs in someone who was bitten or frightened by one as a child. Other forms are not so clear and may include anxiety about a relationship which can make you sexually impotent or frigid. Occasionally the anxiety takes an unspecific form, such as sudden, unexplained panic on the way to the office or a sense of general hopelessness, about the state of the world (called ‘angst’).
What Causes ?
These common external factors can cause anxiety:
- Stress at work
- Stress from school or Exams
- Financial stress
- Stress in a personal relationship such as marriage
- Stress from a serious medical illness
- Use of an illicit drug, such as cocaine
- Stress from an emotional trauma such as the death of a loved one
- Symptom of a medical illness (such as heart attack, heat stroke, hypoglycemia)
- Side effect of medication
- Lack of oxygen in circumstances as diverse as high altitude sickness, emphysema, or pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the vessels of the lung)
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Know About Anxiety Treatment
It is possible to try and cope with anxiety on your own. The first thing to do is to recognize and accept the symptoms and try to discover and face the causes.
But, if this self-help process is not enough – and not even with the aid of family and friends – it is best for you to consult the doctor. The doctor may refer you to a psychotherapist who will help you discover and cope with the causes. This treatment may be carried out either in individual sessions or in the company of other anxiety sufferers in group psychotherapy.
Many doctors are suggesting alternative therapies, the purpose of most of them being to help you relax and gain greater self-awareness. These may include yoga, breathing exercises, biofeedback, or even meditation.
Treat Anxiety Yourself:
Stress Management: Manage stress levels, yourself. Keep an eye on pressures and deadlines, organize daunting tasks in to-do lists, and take enough time off from professional or educational obligations.
Relaxation Techniques: Certain measures can help reduce signs of anxiety, including deep-breathing exercises, long baths, meditation, yoga, and resting in the dark.
Exercises to replace negative thoughts with positive ones: Write down a list of any negative thoughts, and make another list of positive thoughts to replace them. Picturing yourself successfully facing and conquering a specific fear can also provide benefits if the anxiety symptoms link to a specific stressor.
Support Network: Talk to a person who is supportive, such as a family member or friend. Avoid storing up and suppressing anxious feelings as this can worsen anxiety disorders.
Exercise: Physical exertion and an active lifestyle can improve self-image and trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that stimulate positive emotions.
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