Everyone has anxiety, but chronic anxiety can interfere with the quality of life. It can also cause severe damage to our physical health. Anxiety is a normal part of life. For example, feeling anxious before entering the exam centre or a job interview. In general terms, anxiety increases breathing and heartbeat, concentrating blood flow to our brain, where we need it. If it gets too intense, however, people might start to feel lightheaded or likely to be in a state of trance. An excessive or persistent state of anxiety can have a devastating impact both on our physical and mental health. Anxiety disorder can happen at any stage of life, but they usually begin by middle age. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men. Stressful life experiences may increase risk for an anxiety disorder, too. Symptoms may begin immediately or years later. Having a serious medical condition or a substance use disorder can also lead to an anxiety disorder.

There are several types of Anxiety Disorders. They include :

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized anxiety disorder is marked by excessive anxiety for no logical reason. GAD is diagnosed when extreme worry about a variety of things lasts six months or longer. If you have a mild case, you’re probably able to complete your normal day-to-day activities. More severe cases may have a profound impact on your life.

Social Anxiety Disorder
This disorder involves a paralyzing fear of social situations and of being judged or humiliated by others. This severe social phobia can leave one feeling ashamed and alone.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This develops after witnessing or experiencing something traumatic. Symptoms can begin immediately or be delayed for years. Common causes include war, natural disasters, or a physical attack. PTSD episodes may be triggered without warning.

Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
People with OCD may feel overwhelmed with the desire to perform particular rituals (compulsions) over and over again, or experience intrusive and unwanted thoughts that can be distressing (obsessions).
Common compulsions include habitual hand-washing, counting, or checking something. Common obsessions include concerns about cleanliness, aggressive impulses, and need for symmetry.

These include fear of tight spaces (claustrophobia), fear of heights (acrophobia), and many others. You may have a powerful urge to avoid the feared object or situation.

Panic Disorder
This causes panic attacks, spontaneous feelings of anxiety, terror, or impending doom. Physical symptoms include heart palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

Anxiety disorder can cause other symptoms, including:
• headaches
• muscle tension
• insomnia
• depression
• social isolation

Author: Shrabani Chakraborty

A Story Teller

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