Anxiety is an unpleasant, complex combination of emotions that include fear, apprehension, and worry. It is often accompanied by physical sensations such as heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, or tension headache. Anxiety disorders are conditions that involve unrealistic fear and worry. Anxiety disorders are very common. Anxiety disorders affect people of all ages, including kids and teens.
Anxiety is often described as having cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components. The cognitive component entails expectation of a diffuse and uncertain danger. The body prepares the organism to deal with threat (known as an emergency reaction): blood pressure and heart rate are increased, sweating is increased, blood flow to the major muscle groups is increased and immune and digestive system functions are inhibited. Externally, somatic signs of anxiety may include pale skin, sweating, trembling, and pupillary dilation. Emotionally, anxiety causes a sense of dread or panic and physically causes nausea, and chills. Behaviorally, both voluntary and involuntary behaviors may arise directed at escaping or avoiding the source of anxiety. However, anxiety is not always pathological or maladaptive: it is a common emotion along with fear, anger, sadness, and happiness, and it has a very important function in relation to survival. Anxiety can be somewhat of a mental illness.
There are five types of anxiety:
The causes of Anxiety:?When you feel anxious, your body releases hormones that prepare you to react to a threat. This is called the fight-or-flight response. When anxiety gets out of control, this response can occur almost continuously, even during times when you seem calm. Doctors and researchers don't fully understand why this happens. Although the cause of an anxiety disorder is unknown, certain factors may contribute to the disorder;
Medical conditions: Certain disorders, such as an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), can produce anxiety, among other signs and symptoms.
Stress: A buildup of stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety.
Personality: People with some personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders.
Heredity: Generalized anxiety disorder appears to run in some families.
The symptoms of anxiety:?As we have seen, psychiatrists divide anxiety into five main types. The stress can spill over into other areas of life and create anxiety.?In general, anxiety's emotional turmoil appears to have a life of its own. Some psychiatrists call this 'free-floating anxiety'.?People with anxiety may find that they:
The relationship of physical and mental symptoms can create a vicious cycle that can be triggered by a symptom at any point.
In panic, the cycle develops quickly to a crisis. With generalized anxiety, people often manage to keep things under control and the cycle grumbles on. The effort of keeping things under control is itself very stressful.
The first step is to understand how anxiety works. Anxiety is a mixture of physical and mental symptoms. They are part of what psychologists call the 'fight or flight' response. When the body is under threat it automatically prepares either to defend itself or run.
To manage your anxiety you must first break the cycle. One way of doing this is to reduce the severity of physical symptoms by practicing relaxation techniques.
There are two types of relaxation exercise: guided fantasy and muscle tension. It's best to try them both to find out which one suits you best.
Another strategy for breaking the physical symptoms of the vicious cycle is taking aerobic exercise. This is exercise that's low impact - not involving carrying heavy weights or sudden exertion - and acts mainly on the heart. Any gentle physical activity that leaves the heart slightly racing will help.
By effectively giving the heart exercise it will, like any other muscle, become stronger. A stronger heart will be less prone to the kind of pounding that can make the physical symptoms so unpleasant.
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