Anxiety is a type of psychological health condition that mostly affects women. If you have this condition, you may respond to certain things and situations with fear. You also experience physical signs of anxiety such as sweating and a pounding heart. It is normal to have some anxiety and may feel anxious if you have to tackle certain problems or make an important decision. Conversely, anxiety can also be beneficial as it helps individuals notice dangerous situations and focuses attention on staying safe.
This psychological health condition goes beyond the usual nervousness and slight fear you may feel from time to time. Anxiety occurs when:
- You can’t control your responses to situations
- You often overreact when something triggers your emotions
- It interferes with your ability to function
What Causes Anxiety?
Life experiences such as traumatic happenings appear to trigger anxiety in people who are already at risk for anxiety. Inherited behaviors also can be a reason. For several people, this condition may be linked to an underlying health issue. In various cases, the signs and symptoms of anxiety are the first indicators of a medical disorder. Some of the medical complications that can be linked to anxiety include:
- Heart disease
- Drug misuse or withdrawal
- Rare tumors that produce certain fight-or-flight hormones
- Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome
Your anxiety may be due to an underlying medical condition if:
- You didn’t have an anxiety disorder as a child or didn’t have a previous history of anxiety
- You don’t avoid certain things or situations because of anxiety
- You don’t have any blood relatives with an anxiety disorder
- You have a sudden incidence of anxiety that seems unrelated to life events
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety
- Feeling weak or tired
- Breathing rapidly
- Having an increased heart rate
- Having a sense of coming danger or panic
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
Risk Factors of Having Anxiety
Below are some factors that may increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder:
Stress build-up: A build-up of stressful life circumstances may trigger anxiety such as work stress, death in the family, or ongoing worry about finances.
Trauma: Children who suffered abuse or witnessed traumatic happenings are at higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Adults who experience a traumatic event also can develop anxiety disorders.
Stress because of an illness: Having a health condition or serious disease can cause significant concern about issues such as your treatment and your future.
Alcohol or drugs: Alcohol or drug use or misuse as well as withdrawal can cause or worsen anxiety.
Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder: Anxiety disorders can also run in families.
Other mental health disorders: People with other mental health conditions such as depression have a high risk of having an anxiety disorder.
There are no ways to predict for a certain cause to develop an anxiety disorder. However, you can take steps to lessen the impact of symptoms if you are anxious:
Stay active: Participate in activities that you enjoy and make you feel good about yourself. Enjoy social interaction and caring relationships that help you lessen your worries.
Get help early: This type of disorder is harder to treat if you wait.
Avoid drug or alcohol use: The use of alcohol and drugs can cause or may worsen your anxiety. You can see a doctor or find a support group to help you stop.
Several individuals with anxiety disorders need medications or psychotherapy to get anxiety under control. A lifestyle change also can make a difference.
Be physically active:Develop a routine. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. It may improve your mood and help you stay healthy. Start slowly and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your activities.
Prioritize sleep: Do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough sleep to feel rested.
Healthy eating: Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
Psychotherapy: This involves working with a therapist to lessen your anxiety symptoms. It can be an effective treatment for anxiety.
Medications for Anxiety