Table of contents:
- What is anxiety?
- What is generalized anxiety disorder?
- Main symptoms
- What is an anxiety attack?
- Types of Anxiety Disorder
- Possible causes of anxiety
- Treatment options for anxiety
- Natural treatment for anxiety
- Anxiety is a normal response of the body to stressful situations, however, when it is very frequent it can indicate an anxiety disorder.
- There are several types of anxiety disorder, but they usually cause constant worry, difficulty relaxing, and thoughts that are difficult to control.
- There is no specific cause, but the disorder is more common in people who are exposed to stressful situations or who have a serious he alth condition.
- Treatment is usually done with psychotherapy and medication, but can also include the use of natural therapies such as meditation or medicinal plants.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a temporary, natural and completely normal response of the body to situations that cause a lot of stress, such as having to give a public presentation, having a job interview or having to take a school exam.
However, when the feeling of anxiety is very intense, appears for no apparent reason and interferes with daily activities, anxiety is no longer considered natural and is now called generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or phobia, depending on the case.
What is generalized anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorder happens when anxiety is no longer temporary and becomes very frequent, causing the person to show concern and fear even in moments that would not be considered stressful, such as getting into an elevator, talking to a unknown or simply leave the house.
This type of disorder tends to get worse over time, especially when no treatment is given, and therefore people with anxiety disorder are at greater risk of developing depression, as well as other psychological illnesses.
Anxiety disorder symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another, especially in their intensity. Still, some common symptoms are:
- Constant worry;
- Difficulty relaxing;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Sleep changes;
- Easy fatigue;
- Continuous feeling that something bad is going to happen.
Along with these manifestations, anxiety can also be accompanied by physical signs such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing and excessive sweating, for example.
Online Anxiety Test
If you think you suffer from an anxiety disorder, select what you have been feeling in the last two weeks:
- 1. Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge? Yes No
- 2. Feeling tired easily? Yes No
- 3. Have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? Yes No
- 4. Have it been difficult to stop feeling worried? Yes No
- 5. Have difficulty relaxing? Yes No
- 6. Felt so worried that it was hard to stand still? Yes No
- 7. Feeling easily irritated or upset? Yes No
- 8. Feeling scared as if something really bad was going to happen? Yes No
Make an appointment with a specialist
What is an anxiety attack?
An anxiety attack is the period of time when symptoms of an anxiety disorder appear. Often the crisis comes on slowly, as some stressful situation approaches, but it can also arise from one moment to the next.
The intensity of an anxiety crisis can vary greatly from one person to another, as well as vary at different times in life, with some crises more intense than others. Although they may look similar, anxiety attacks and panic attacks are not the same. See the main differences between anxiety and panic attack.
Types of Anxiety Disorder
Although anxiety disorder is popularly known just as "anxiety", the truth is that there are different types of anxiety disorders, which vary according to the reason for the concern, as well as the way the person thinks. is organized.
The main types of anxiety disorder include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: it is the type of anxiety that arises for no specific reason, happening due to various day-to-day situations and that remains for longer of 6 months;
- Panic disorder: when there are spontaneous and recurrent bouts of intense fear or discomfort that last a few minutes;
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: is more common in children under 12 and is characterized by excessive fear and anxiety about being separated from home or a loved one;
- Selective mutism: this is a rare type of anxiety disorder that can happen in childhood and that makes it difficult for a child to talk to people who are not immediate relatives, such as parents or siblings;
- Social Phobia: There is fear or anxiety about social situations, such as going out with friends or giving a presentation, usually out of fear of judgment;
- Agoraphobia: occurs when there is fear of being in open spaces, being in public spaces or leaving the house alone, for example;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: can arise after experiencing very traumatic situations, such as participating in a war or being kidnapped.
Anxiety disorder can also be classified as "substance-induced anxiety disorder", when it is caused by the consumption of some substance, such as medication or drugs, or "anxiety disorder due to another medical condition", when arises as a result of another he alth history issue.
Possible causes of anxiety
The specific cause that causes the anxiety disorder to appear is not known, but it seems more common in people with certain risk factors such as:
- Family history of anxiety disorder;
- Being exposed to situations that cause a lot of stress or negative feelings;
- Having a he alth condition that can cause a lot of anxiety, such as thyroid disorders, heart problems, or chronic pain;
- Having experienced a traumatic situation at some point in life, such as physical or verbal violence.
People who are trying to stop using substances such as alcohol or drugs are also at increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder resulting from withdrawal caused by addiction.
Treatment options for anxiety
Treatment for anxiety should always be guided by a psychologist and/or psychiatrist. In most cases, treatment is with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Psychotherapy consists of conducting sessions in a psychologist's or psychiatrist's office, which aim to help identify the reason for anxiety and develop tools and/or skills to help deal with excessive stress.
In milder cases, psychotherapy may be enough to relieve the anxiety disorder, without the need for medication.
At the beginning of the treatment, the psychiatrist may prescribe the use of antidepressants and, if necessary, supplement with the use of anti-anxiety medication, known as anxiolytics, which should not be used for long periods due to their addictive potential.
The most used anxiolytics are benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, bromazepam or diazepam, which act in the brain by regulating the production of some chemicals that help to relax and regulate the onset of symptoms. However, these medications can cause a number of side effects and, therefore, should only be used under the supervision of a physician.
In addition to antidepressants and anxiolytics, the doctor may also indicate other medications according to each person's symptoms and their intensity.
Natural treatment for anxiety
Natural treatment is a great way to complement the treatment indicated by the doctor, as it includes the use of techniques that help to promote relaxation and control stress and anxiety, however, they should not replace medical treatment. Ideally, natural treatments should be used under the supervision of the responsible physician.
The main natural treatments indicated for anxiety are:
1. He althy lifestyle
Having a he althy lifestyle not only helps maintain physical he alth, it is also an excellent way to maintain mental he alth and reduce anxiety. He althy lifestyle behaviors include:
- Exercise regularly, at least 3 to 5 times a week;
- Have a he althy and balanced diet;
- Avoid consumption of alcohol or caffeine;
- Stop smoking;
- Sleep at least 8 hours a night.
These behaviors that should be maintained by people with anxiety as they help control symptoms more effectively and for longer.
Meditation is a natural technique that aims to help a person live in the present and reduce worry "noises" that often arise in thought. Several studies have shown that when applied to people with anxiety, meditation is able to reduce stress and anxiety levels over time, in addition to improving sleep and promoting self-knowledge.
3. Natural Remedies
The use of natural remedies consists of taking advantage of the medicinal properties of some plants to help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Some of these plants, such as Kava-kava or Ashwagandha, for example, even have effects similar to those of some pharmacy drugs used to treat anxiety, without causing side effects or promoting dependence.
These natural remedies can be consumed in the form of teas or supplements, but they should always be guided by a doctor, herbalist or other he alth professional accustomed to the use of medicinal plants.