What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a term used to describe a mental disorder in which one anticipates a negative turn of events. Anxiety instills fear, worry and nervousness. What was your feeling during the last time you went for an interview? What was the experience as you waited for your medical test outcome? The impacts related to anxiety have a negative influence of our general outlook in life and can manifest as physical symptoms. Mild cases of anxiety may go unnoticed. However, severe cases can result to serious problems. These feelings of anticipation are normal in every person. However, if anxiety interferes with your sleep or concentration at work, there is need to seek medical assistance.
Relationship Between Anxiety and Depression
Disorders associated with anxiety and depressions are very different although they may show some similarities with regard to their manifestation. Depressed persons have feelings of hopelessness, anger and worthlessness. They feel powerless and overshadowed by their duties at work and experience difficulties in handling relationship issues with their loved ones. On the other hand, anxiety instills fear and worry. If you are suffering from anxiety related disorders, you are likely to experience unwarranted fear or panic attacks in normal circumstances. Even in a relaxed mood, you might get frequent outbursts of uneasiness without an actual trigger. Unattended cases of anxiety and depression rob people’s ability to go about their businesses at work, home or school. Your relationship with people is severed. They expose you to risks of losing your job. Therapies and medications used in the treatment of depression and anxiety are the same.
Anxiety and Depression Disorders
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety disorder manifest in patients who are constantly worried about what happens in their lives every day. They remain tense anticipating for the worst to happen without pending triggers at sight. Their focus is mostly on financial instability, safety and health of their families or job security. GAD is diagnosed when anxiety symptoms lasts for up to six months. Children and the middle aged population are at higher risk of suffering from GAD. Although the actual cause of GAD is not known, it has been linked to biological factors, family history and the general stresses of life.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
People suffering from Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD) experience uncontrollable unwanted and disturbing thoughts. This compels them to perform rites in an effort to get rid of the anxiety. To put off the unwelcome thought, people with OCD constantly repeat rituals like hand washing or checking locks. Do you regularly keep on checking if your gas cylinder is fastened? It could as well mean you are suffering from OCD. Such obsessive behaviors can adversely affect your concentration at work, school or home. Children too may suffer from OCD though it is difficult to diagnose except in serious cases.
- Panic Disorder (PD)
Panic disorder also known as Agoraphobia manifest in people experiencing a possibility of an attack at anytime including when asleep. Most people with panic disorder suffer in silence since they fear being misinterpreted as hypochondriac. Majority of people with PD who seek professional assistance respond well to treatments. Panic disorder may occur alongside other anxiety related illnesses such as depression or substance abuse.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a serious incapacitating condition mostly experienced by people who witness disasters, accidents or terror attacks. If you have experienced trauma at one time, it is normal to have flashbacks and nightmares relating to that event. These memories can be triggered by a recent occurrence of events of the same nature. For example, if you suffered from trauma after surviving a bomb blast, a gunshot can spark posttraumatic stress disorder. However, majority of people who go through a traumatizing event recover within a short time. People with PTSD may live with the memories years after the disaster struck.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Social anxiety disorder is the fear of being judged against by others. This is more than the normal shyness among the majority. Although most people with SAD know their points of weakness, they feel helpless and humiliated about their current situation. They find it impossible to stand before a crowd or act in a way to attract attention. If you suffer from SAD, your daily tasks may get interfered with just like in people with depression.
Clinical diagnosis of anxiety and depression is done through a consultative interview with a psychotherapist. You may be asked a number of questions about your general experience with life or whether thoughts of suicide are common. You should provide concise and accurate information about other treatment options you made before. Cases of substance abuse should be shared to prevent misdiagnosis. It is important to be frank with the physician so that you get the most convenient and effective treatment. In the diagnosis of anxiety and depression, the doctor will check your heartbeat, tightness in the chest and possibility of breathing difficulties.
- Financial Constraints: People living in abject poverty are at higher risk of contracting anxiety and depression related illnesses. Most challenges that people face are in quest to make a living.
- History of Mental Disorders in the Family: You are at a higher risk of getting depression and anxiety if a family member had at one time suffered the illnesses.
- Presence of Chronic Disease: Having been in the recovery path from another ailment for a long time may increase* chances of depression and anxiety disorders.
- Stress: As a result of fluctuating levels of chemicals responsible for mood and sleep control in the brain.
- Childhood Memories: You could be haunted by traumatizing experiences from infancy.
Research shows that anxiety and depressive disorders are brought about by a combination of biological factors which refers to the chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain. Psychological factors include the challenges and stresses of life. Environmental factors include our exposure to chemicals and toxins in our surroundings. Past or childhood tortures, accidents and lifestyle changes great contributors to anxiety-depressive disorders. Substance abuse especially alcohol and recreational drugs can make you susceptible to depression and anxiety.
Treatment of mixed anxiety-depressive illnesses is complicated since the two exhibit similar symptoms. Some therapeutic and medication treatments may respond well to depression while others may work best for anxiety. A combined treatment with SSRI antidepressants with benzodiazepines is one of the most effective ways successfully used in the treatment of both anxiety and depression. Cognitive therapy developed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck has been used with success in the cure* of combined cases of anxiety and depression.