anxiety and fears

Each of us has at least once experienced anxiety or fear for ourselves or for people close to us. And this is normal. Moreover, fear helps us to overcome many life situations and even saves our lives. But sometimes the anxiety does not pass, it becomes intrusive and grows day by day as a snowball. Fear can turn into a compulsive state, an anxiety disorder, to cope with which alone is very difficult. This is the kind of anxiety and fear in which people cannot control their thoughts and feelings.

How do you recognize pathological fear?

For the most part, fear is a normal reaction to threatening situations. Some people are more anxious than others because of their character and experience. Fear is pathological if it occurs for no particular reason, becomes a frequent/permanent companion and impairs quality of life.

Forms of pathological anxiety

The term anxiety disorder describes a group of mental disorders in which anxiety symptoms occur without any external threat. These anxiety symptoms can be physical (palpitations, sweating, etc.) and psychological (catastrophic thinking, avoidance behavior, etc.). Anxiety disorder can manifest in a variety of ways:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. For the person with generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety and feelings of dread are constant companions. Often these fears have no specific cause, but can also relate to real threats (possibility of a car accident or illness of close relatives, etc.), and the symptoms of fear are exaggerated. Often the feeling of fear is so strong that daily life is severely limited in many respects;
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder. This anxiety disorder is characterized by obsessive-compulsive thoughts and/or compulsive actions. For example, sufferers react tensely and anxiously when prevented from performing certain rituals. These may include constantly washing their hands, counting items, or repeatedly checking to see if windows are locked. Obsessive-compulsive thoughts may have aggressive, abusive or frightening content;
  • Phobia. A phobia is an excessive fear of certain situations Most people suffering from phobias know that their fears are not really grounded in reality. In this case, the encounter with an object or situation that causes fear has a strong negative reaction. Situations that cause fear can be, for example, high altitudes, open water, spiders, injections, etc.

Causes of pathological anxiety

There are various theories about the development of pathological anxiety or anxiety disorders:

  • psychoanalytic causes. This approach suggests that anxiety disorders arise in people who have not learned to cope with normal fear. In conflict situations, fear overwhelms them and becomes uncontrollable;
  • behavioral causes. Proponents of this approach view fears as learned. One example is fear of flying. This can occur if a person is confronted with a dangerous situation, such as severe turbulence, on board. Also, fears can develop as a result of simple observation - for example, a child observing his mother who is afraid of spiders and feeling her fear;
  • neurobiological approaches suggest that the autonomic nervous system in anxious patients is more unstable than in healthy individuals and therefore reacts particularly quickly and violently to stimuli.

Factors of concern

Factors that cause anxiety and restlessness can be:

  • severe emotional stress;
  • traumatic experiences (war, accidents, abuse or natural disasters);
  • alcohol and drug use;
  • Medications: Some medications can cause palpitations, shortness of breath, and anxiety as side effects;
  • Thyroid dysfunction;
  • heart disease;
  • diseases of the brain.

Symptoms

Symptoms of anxiety are: palpitations, rapid pulse, sweating, Tremors, difficulty breathing, dizziness. In severe cases - chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling depressed, impaired consciousness, feeling that you are standing beside yourself or losing your mind, fear of death. With panic disorder, anxiety attacks with severe physical and mental attacks are possible. A panic attack attack can last from a few minutes to (in extreme cases) several hours, but most panic attacks last no longer than 30 minutes. The frequency of attacks can vary from several times a day to monthly. Sometimes people live in constant fear of another attack. Panic attacks can occur completely unexpectedly, such as when you are sitting quietly in front of the television. But they can also trigger in certain situations. A person experiences fear in certain situations or places and avoids them.

When is it worth seeing a doctor?

If you feel excessive anxiety, which becomes more intense and more frequent, if you cannot overcome your fear on your own, if your current living conditions cannot explain the extent of your fear, if your fear severely limits the quality of your life, if you withdraw from public life because of your fears - all these are reasons to see a doctor. Don't be embarrassed and don't delay seeing a specialist. The longer your anxiety disorder symptoms last, the more they can take hold. In this case, therapy is more difficult and will last longer. Therefore, you should seek professional help as soon as possible if you show signs of an anxiety disorder. Fears that have an understandable cause may also require treatment. For example, when a life-threatening illness such as cancer is accompanied by massive fears. After taking a medical history, assessing the level of fear and discussing possible causes in detail, the doctor will make a diagnosis and prescribe the right therapy for you, if necessary. In addition to the treatment prescribed by the doctor, you can try to reduce your anxiety yourself. To do this, use available methods of relaxation, breathing exercises, yoga. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, strengthen your physical form, follow your diet, and give up bad habits.

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