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What is An Anxiety Disorder?

Aug 17, 2007
Anxiety disorder is the term used to define pathological fears, phobias, anxieties and nervous conditions that either appear suddenly or develop over time. It may affect daily activities.

Oftentimes, anxiety disorders affect the emotions of the individual. Both terms, anxiety and fear, have specific meanings in a scientific usage. Normally, they are interchanged.

Here's a clearer explanation. When pertaining to phobia, it is a kind of anxiety that is somehow irrational. On the other hand, fear is said to be the physiological and emotional response to anything that poses to be a threat.

Anxiety Disorders affect around 40 million Americans age 18 years and above in a year. This makes them fearful and uncertain of various situations. There is the relatively mild case, which is brief anxiety due to a stressful event. An example is publicly speaking in a room full of strangers or going out on a first date with someone you really like.

How to Handle Anxiety Disorder

But there are cases of anxiety orders, which can get out of hand when not treated as soon as possible. This can last for as long as six months. If it is ignored, it will only make the matter worse.

Generally, anxiety disorders occur alongside substance or alcohol abuse. It masks the anxiety symptoms. Sometimes, it even makes the situation worse. There are cases when the illness has to be treated before the individual can respond to the anxiety disorder treatment.

There are various therapies out there that are effective in treating anxiety disorders. More and more researchers are also uncovering treatments that can assist people suffering from the illness.

If you think that you are suffering from any kind of anxiety disorder, it is best that you ask your physician about it and the best treatment you can go through.

Is it Anxiety Disorder?

Then again, how do you know whether this is already a disorder or you're merely anxious? Almost everyone is anxious at times. We face challenges on a daily basis from workplace pressures like demanding schedules or school concerns like exams can already result in worry and fear.

However, people who have anxiety disorder are those who intently acknowledge this fear and are subject to prolonged and intense feelings of distress and fright for no apparent reason. This condition can even turn their life into something uneasy and fearful, thereby interfering in their relationships with family and friends, as well as colleagues.

To give you a clearer picture, think of Meryl Streep's character in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. She's afraid of the fridge falling off a boy and even realtors.

The Problem and the Solution

Out of all the mental health problems, anxiety disorders are the most common. It is said that around 1 out of 10 people are suffering from it. It is more prevalent with women than with men and can affect both children and adults.

The sad part about this is that anxiety disorder is often mistaken for instability or mental weakness, thus giving the individual a social stigma and discouraging him to seek help. One must understand anxiety disorder as the first step to remove the stigma. Once this has been done, then people with anxiety disorders are encouraged to try out the various treatments available.

If you have anxiety disorder or you know someone who does, visit your physician. He or she can easily determine whether the symptoms you have are from anxiety disorder, a mental condition or even both. The next step is to get treatment.

Do not be afraid to seek assistance from psychiatrists, social workers, counselors and psychologists. It is also best that you look for a professional that has specialized training in behavioral therapy or cognitive-behavior. Make sure that he or she is also open to using medications when the situation calls for it.

You have the right to inquire what kind of therapy he or she normally uses and whether medications are or are not available. You must feel comfortable with the therapy you are going through. If you feel queasy or ill at ease, then you can ask about the other kinds of therapy he or she offers.

If you have been under medication, do not quit the drugs abruptly. You have to taper the dosage under the guiding eyes of a physician you trust. You can ask him or her how to stop your medication.
About the Author
Gaetane Ross is a Certified Natural Health Consultant who has spent 4 years focusing on Nutrition and Health. She also specializes in Alternative Medicine. Gaetane's mission is to positively transform the lives of everyone she meets by providing advice on Healthy Living.

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