What is Anxiety?

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Anxiety is a negative state of mind in response to stress, uncertainty, and trouble. There are two types of anxiety: normal anxiety and anxiety disorder . Normal anxiety occurs when a person is faced with overwhelming situations such as break-ups, exams, interviews, or even blind dates. It is manifested by jitters in the body or heavy sweating that will only last for a couple of minutes or hours.

Anxiety disorder happens when the symptoms becomes severe, causing interruptions to a person’s daily activities and relationship with other people. An individual who suffers from anxiety disorder may experience random panic attacks, paranoia, irrational fear, and recurring nightmares. There are six types of anxiety disorders, which include anxiety attacks obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, and general anxiety disorder.

Like other mental illness, anxiety is also triggered by a combination of environmental, psychological, and genetic factors. It can also be a result of stern alcoholism and co-existing conditions. During the development of anxiety, the almond-shaped structure inside the brain known as amygdale sends the signal to the sensory nerves. The hippocampus then encodes the signal triggering different psychological reactions to an individual. The severity of symptoms may depend on the types of memories stored in a person’s brain. People who have experienced a painful past may experience post-traumatic stress disorder and severe flashbacks.

Anxiety is very common to people who are 18 years old and above. It can be diagnosed using self-anxiety test or supervised psychological test. Common treatments for anxiety include psychotherapy, taking anti-depressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), administering anti-anxiety drugs, and counseling. Cognitive-behavior therapy can also help in mitigating negative thinking patterns that prompt anxiety. Another method known as exposure therapy helps correct anxiety disorders by allowing the person to be constantly exposed to feared objects until he can fully overcome them and gain self-control. When untreated, anxiety may lead into extreme cases such as depression, substance abuse, and suicide.

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