Do you find yourself feeling anxious about a problem at work? Are you always worried that something bad might happen to you or your family? Do you get nervous driving in rush hour traffic?
According to psychologists in the West Island of Montreal, it’s normal to feel anxious from time to time. People of all ages (yes even young kids) can get anxious. But for most of us, these moments of anxiety are short-lived.
Unfortunately, there are people who experience anxiety that do not go away. They become more and more anxious over time that it is already starting to affect their daily life. This is what doctors refer to as anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Although the symptoms may be different for each person, most people who suffer from anxiety disorder experience the following:
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Feelings of dread, panic or danger
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased sweating
- Inability to focus on things other than what you’re worried about
- GI problems (constipation, diarrhea, constipation, gas, etc.)
- Avoidance of your anxiety trigger/s
- Doing the same things repeatedly
People dealing with anxiety disorder may also experience panic attacks. This means they feel the sudden onset of distress and fear that peaks in just a matter of minutes and may exhibit at least 4 of these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Feeling of hot or cold
- Chest tightness/chest pain
- Tingling sensation
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of dying
Keep in mind that panic attack symptoms are somewhat similar to those of thyroid problems, heart disease, breathing disorders and other ailments. It’s important to seek medical help if you experience the symptoms listed above.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are different kinds of anxiety disorders. They are:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) : People diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder often worry about events or activities including those that are routine or ordinary. Their constant worries cause physical symptoms including stomach pain, headache, and insomnia.
- Agoraphobia : Those with agoraphobia have a fear of certain situations or places that make them feel powerless, trapped or uncomfortable. They may tend to avoid these situations and places to prevent panic attacks.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) : This disorder is the repeated tendency to think unwanted or intrusive thoughts and worries. The person maybe aware their thoughts are trivial, but they nothing about it. They may, however, do something repeatedly as a response to their intrusive thoughts. This may include repetitive counting, hand washing, checking if their doors are locked, etc.
- Panic disorder : This condition causes sudden and repeated bouts of extreme fear, anxiety or terror. As a result, the person experiencing a panic attack may have shortness of breath, chest pain, feeling of imminent danger, sweating and palpitations.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) : This disorder occurs after a person experiences a traumatic event like an assault, war, natural disaster, or accident. Those suffering from PTSD often have disturbing dreams, have difficulty relaxing, and may get frequent flashbacks of the event that traumatized them.
- Selective mutism : This refers to the inability of a child to talk when placed in specific places or situations. Selective mutism can impede with a child’s development and activities.
- Separation anxiety disorder : When a child (this usually affects toddlers) is separated from their parents or guardians, they may become very anxious. Most kids outgrow it by age 2 however some are unable to, and their anxiety may end up disrupting their daily activities.
Doctors don’t fully understand the causes of anxiety disorders. But they agree that certain traumatic experiences can spark anxiety especially for those who are prone to it. Genetics is another factor that contribute to anxiety, as well as an underlying health issue.