Anxiety is a very real issue that affects 40 million people in the United States. Anxiety disorders are the most common and prevalent mental disorders in the United States. Of course, some people experience anxiety for reasons that are not at all life-threatening, but others do feel like they are in danger. When a person faces something that is potentially harmful or other worry triggers, the feeling of anxiety is not just normal but needed for survival. When there is an incoming danger, alarms are set off in our body, which may include an elevated heartbeat, sweating, and increased sensitivity to surroundings.
Anxiety is a body’s natural response to stress and a feeling of fear or uneasiness about what is to come next. Anxiety disorders are characterized by a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are excessive and intrusive worrying that disrupts daily functions. Other signs include agitation, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, tense muscles, and trouble sleeping.
There are six types of anxiety disorders I am going to explain. The first is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). With this type of anxiety disorder, a person will feel anxious on most days and worry about numerous things. They will also overly worry about money, health, work, and other random issues. This affects 6.8 million adults in the United States, which is about 3.1% of the population. Of those that have been diagnosed with GAD, only 43.2% received treatment. Women are twice as likely to develop this disorder as men are.
When doctors diagnose a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the person must have experienced excessive worry and anxiety about several different events or activities for more days than not and for at least six months. The person will also express they have a difficult time controlling their worry.
Social Anxiety (SAD) is a very common anxiety disorder that affects 15 million adults in the United States, which is about 6.8% of the population. This is when everyday social interactions cause a person an irrational fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment. A person may have trouble in common situations, for instance, talking to a stranger, making eye contact, using public restrooms, and eating in front of people.
Specific Phobias affect 19 million adults, being 8.7% of the population in the United States. Women tend to be twice as likely to develop this disorder as men. The average onset for this condition is around 7 years old. This type of anxiety disorder amounts to an unreasonable or irrational fear related to exposure to a specific object or situation. A person will avoid contact with a specific object due to their fear of such an object.
Panic Disorder is a type of disorder that causes panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of terror, even when there is no danger around them. This affects 6 million adults in the United States, which is about 2.7% of the population. This does tend to be inflicted on women twice as much as men.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder that causes excessive thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviors. There are 2.2 million, being 1.0% of the population of adults in the United States that are OCD. A person that lives with this disorder gets caught up in a cycle of unwanted obsessions, instructive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. For example, when a person that is OCD is leaving their house, they need to turn the lights on and off a certain number of times or check the door is locked a specific number of times before they feel comfortable leaving the house.
Post-Traumatic- Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder in which a person has a hard time recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. This disorder plagues 7.7 million adults, being 3.5% of the population in the United States. This does occur in women more than men, but it does happen to both. Rape triggers PTSD in 65% of men and 49.5% of women. It is believed a person that experienced childhood sexual abuse, will develop PTSD in their lifetime.
Treatment consists of a combination of psychotherapy, behavior therapy, and medications. Some people can avoid therapy sessions to treat their anxiety disorder by doing things at home; after all, going into a clinician’s office can be stressful alone and causes unnecessary stress to a person already dealing with stress and anxiety. If a person decides they prefer to try self-treatment at home, they will need to understand this type of treatment helps those cope with mild and more focused shorter-term anxiety disorders.
There are five self-treatment options that are available. One is stress management which will include learning how to manage stress to limit those potential triggers. You can organize upcoming events and deadlines in order and compile lists with daunting tasks in order to make them easier to manage. It is always important to commit to taking time off from work and or school.
Another self-treatment plan is to practice relaxation techniques. Straight-forward activities have the potential to calm our mental and physical anxiety signals. Other options, are to meditate (which I am awful at), deep breathing exercises, long hot baths, resting in a dark room, and yoga.
Another self-treatment option is practice replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Start off by making a shortlist of five negative thoughts that are running through your mind. Next, write another list, next to your first list, with positive thoughts to replace those negative thoughts with. When we have a mental image of successfully facing our negative thoughts or conquering a specific fear, this can provide benefits if the anxiety symptoms are related.
You can also utilize a support network by talking with a friend or family member who is supportive. There are probably local support groups near where you live, but there are also plenty of online support groups. If you want to find local support groups, I am more than happy to help you find as many as I can, just let me know!
This is the last self-treatment plan I can share with y’all. Establish an exercise regimen; physical exertion can improve the self-doubts you might have and release chemicals in the brain that trigger positive feelings.
Thank you for visiting my site today. I believe there are many people that shy away from talking about any kind of mental illnesses because others shame them. I feel we should all feel free and comfortable to talk to others about what we are dealing with and we should never be judged. We are all human-beings with a strong beating heart and we have feelings. I will be completely honest with y’all, I have not been formally diagnosed with anything, but I feel stress and anxiety most of the time and I can not turn it off. I do not know how to not worry because I have done it for 38 years and like that old saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I would love to read your thoughts on this information because I know y’all are amazing with brilliant thoughts. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love , comfort, and many positive vibes!