Anxiety Disorders: Everything You Need To Know

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Kendall Jenner, the 22-year-old model recently revealed her mental health issue and disclosed that she was on the verge of a mental breakdown. She had experienced full-on panic attacks due to which she was not able to attend fashion shows. Anxiety disorders are something that can affect anyone at any point in time. In this article, we will be writing about what anxiety disorder is, its types, causes and treatments.

Not only Kendall Jenner, other celebrities have also suffered from anxiety disorders - Jessica Alba, David Beckham, John Mayer, Johnny Depp, and Charlize Theron to name a few.

Coming to Bollywood, celebrities like Anushka Sharma, Ileana D'Cruz, and other actors have suffered from anxiety disorders too.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report published in the year 2017, 56 million Indians suffer from depression and 38 million Indians suffer from anxiety disorders.

Let's break down anxiety disorder in detail here.

While anxiety is a normal emotion, anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental disorders characterized by constant worry and fear. Someone who has an anxiety disorder anticipates a future concern which is associated with avoidance behaviour and muscle tension.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, which affect nearly 30 per cent of adults at some point in their lives. And women are more likely than men to experience anxiety disorders.

A person with an anxiety disorder can hinder their job performance and personal relationships. There are several types of anxiety disorders according to the American Psychiatric Association.

1. Generalized anxiety disorder - It involves excessive worry accompanied by physical symptoms such as restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, muscle tension, sleeping problems, fatigues.

2. Panic disorder - The symptoms of panic disorder is a recurrent panic attack. During a panic attack, symptoms like these occur - sweating, trembling, palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling dizzy, numbness, hot flashes, nausea, choked feeling, etc.

3. Specific phobias - A specific phobia is excessive and a constant fear of a specific object, or activity that is generally not harmful.

4. Agoraphobia - It is the fear of being in certain situations where escape might be difficult. A person with agoraphobia experiences the fear in situations like being in enclosed spaces or open spaces, using public transportation, being in a crowd, or alone at home.

5. Social anxiety disorder - A person with this type of disorder has anxiety and discomfort about being humiliated, rejected or embarrassed in social interactions.

6. Separation anxiety disorder - A person with this disorder is fearful or anxious about getting separated from those they are attached or close to.

It is still unknown as to what exactly causes anxiety disorders. But, they stem from a combination of things including genetic, environmental, developmental and psychological factors.

These are the general symptoms of anxiety disorder:

1. Sleeping Problems.
2. Uneasiness, panic and fear.
3. Experiencing cold, numb and sweaty hands or feet.
4. Shortness of breath.
5. Unable stay calm.
6. Dry mouth.
7. Tense muscles.
8. Heart palpitations.
9. Nausea.
10. Dizziness.

First, your doctor will evaluate your symptoms physically. If your doctor doesn't find any medical reasons, he or she may send you to a psychiatrist, or a psychologist.

Once anxiety disorder is diagnosed, a mental health professional will help you. But the harsh truth is that many people don't seek help or realize that they have a mental illness that has effective treatments.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, each anxiety disorder has different types of characteristics and most people may respond well to two types of treatment which are psychotherapy and medications.

Psychotherapy or talk therapy must be targeted at the person's specific anxieties and oriented to his or her needs. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can aid people with anxiety disorders.

Medications, on the other hand, can be prescribed only for a short duration to bring relief from symptoms, otherwise, they don't help in curing anxiety disorders. The most common medications are antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

To cope and manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders, meditation and stress management techniques can be useful. A person can join support groups to share their experiences or he or she may speak to their family members to understand them better.

Other tips include avoiding caffeine as it can make your symptoms worse. Eat right, get proper sleep and perform outdoor exercises like jogging and biking.

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