9 Things You Didn’t Know About Anxiety

Anxiety is the natural response of the body to stressful situations. Anxiety is often riddled with misinformation and common misconception. Often, people spread myths which undermine the disease and misrepresent it. There is a lot of false and improper information about anxiety.

Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about anxiety that can shape your understanding.

 

Experiencing some anxiety is normal
 
Anxiety is common amongst people. You could worry lightly about the weather, something you said or the turnout of a social interaction. These are occasional moments of anxiety, and are part of everyday routine.
 
Anxiety disorder is characterized by deep, uncontrollably overwhelming worry and distress that may even affect your energy levels in such a way that you are unable to carry out your regular activities.
 
The difference between the two states is significant. In order to be classified as having anxiety, one needs to show extreme states of worry and panic.
 
For instance, sadness or difficulty falling asleep after experiencing a traumatic event is normal anxiousness. However, having recurring nightmares or flashbacks relating to a traumatic event that may have happened a long while ago could be a sign of anxiety.
 
Anxiety disorders can increase your risk of physical ailment
 
 
Anxiety increases your risk of experiencing obesity, heart conditions and diabetes. It can play a direct role in increased body weight, high blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels and increase in abdominal fat.
 
Anxiety reduces the body’s ability to function effectively by reducing the likelihood of triggering the release of chemicals and enzymes that flood the body with happiness and joy. These enzymes and compounds help to increase blood flow, which has been linked with reduced physical ailment.
 
Women are at a higher risk of getting anxiety
 
Women are more likely than men to experience anxiety. Other risk factors could include people who engage in drug and substance abuse and those who have family members with a history of anxiety disorder or panic attack.
 
Anxiety is likely to co-occur with other conditions, with one more likely to contribute to the development of the other. If you are living with a terminal or chronic illness, you are more likely to experience anxiety.
 
Ongoing sources of stress from work, home or school can also increase the likelihood of anxiety attacks. Stressful events such as deaths are also likely to increase the risk of anxiety. You may have recently or in the past, experienced traumatic events. These could contribute to your anxiety or panic attack.
 
Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder
 
 
Obsessive compulsive disorder is regularly and wrongfully characterized as a stand-alone mental health problem. Did you know it is one of a number of types of anxiety? This disorder is characterized by obsessive and intrusive thoughts which lead to compulsive tendencies. People perform these behaviors to relieve the mind of the obsession.
 
Other types of anxiety include Trichotillomania, PTSD, Body dismorphic disorder (BDD), Social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and selective mutism.
 
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health problem
 
Anxiety affects more than 18% of the US population and a 30% average around the world. It is a rising cause of concern, and has led to various mental health campaigns and initiatives designed to help people understand anxiety and to find help as soon as possible.
 
Anxiety is represented by a wide range of disorders. It is continuously rising, with more people projected to develop some form of anxiety.
 
You can manage the effects of anxiety with meditation
 
 
Certain meditation techniques have been shown to reduce the effects of anxiety to completely manageable levels. The most prevalent technique is mindfulness, which urges the person meditating to be aware without passing any judgement.
 
Anxiety can develop out of a feeling of loss of control. It may cause you to be stressful over past occurrences and potential future events. You do not have control over these. Mindfulness urges the person meditating to look into themselves and control their response to any number of situations. This way, you will be more likely to enjoy the moment.
 
No single test can diagnose anxiety
 
Anxiety is not even listed as a standalone mental health problem in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is the mental health manual in use for diagnosis. This might cause identifying anxiety to be difficult, and largely an approximation.
 
However, the manual lists anxiety as a common symptom for most mental health conditions. Over time it will be necessary to understand and consider a solution for anxiety.
 
Anxiety can be treated with therapy
 
 
Anxiety is often diagnosed and prescribed medication. However, there are some therapy techniques that may be lower budget, effective, and having no side effects.
 
Talk therapy is a short term counselling approach. It can help to fix the effects of anxiety quickly and for short term benefit. Cognitive behavioral therapy also offers a short term solution to the effects of anxiety. On the longer time scale, you could try psychotherapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and prolonged exposure therapy to treat anxiety.
 
Helping people undergoing therapy by engaging with them and talking out any experiences they would like to share will make their treatment more likely to succeed.
 
You can donate your time or money to helping ease the effects of anxiety
 
Various mental health campaigns have developed programs to help reduce the effect of anxiety on mental health patients suffering from it. You can contribute to anxiety and depression treatment in order to help people facing these diseases.

Often, the programs are underfunded and largely ignored. In a world where up to one third may be suffering from anxiety, some help could go a long way. The nature of help does not have to be financial contribution. You may also offer your time to people suffering from anxiety, by volunteering for the mental health campaigns. You will be better placed to understand the condition and identify it should it occur in someone close to you. A little support goes a long way.

 
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