Anxiety is a natural response of your body to stress and fear. It's common to have worries about different things in life such as sitting for an exam or having a medical test, but when those worries begin to affect your ability to live a normal life, it could indicate that you are living with situational anxiety, and in some cases, treatment may be recommended.
Negative and anxious thoughts arise in the brain which affects our physical and mental health in different ways. In the initial stage, anxiety disorder is not considered a serious issue.
However, persistent anxiety can lead to psychological symptoms. Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness and affects about 35% of people at some point in their lives.
An anxiety disorder may be situational or generalised. It is important to identify the difference between situational and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Where generalised anxiety disorder involves an often constant state of generalised worry, situational anxiety occurs in response to a specific situation.
Causes of anxiety disorder
The causes behind the anxiety disorder are unknown. However, multi factors are responsible for this disorder. These factors may be genetic, environmental, or psychological.
Mental health specialists should identify the reason behind your mental illness and then prescribe anxiety medications to get rid of this.
Types of anxiety disorders;
- Situational anxiety disorder
In situational anxiety disorder, the patient's anxious thoughts get triggered in response to a specific situation. The situation might be created as a result of his/ her past bad experience with something.
The healthcare professional should recognise the situation and introduce a treatment plan to bring out the patient from the situation.
- Generalised anxiety disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder involves an often persistent state of generalised worries. This worry may be linked to your daily activities. This type of anxiety disorder needs, congenital behavioural therapy treatment.
- Panic disorder
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder where you face panic attacks of fear and stress on a regular base. However, this may not always be possible as the situation that is causing the problem is part of normal life and cannot be avoided, so a little help is needed.
In general, several self-help approaches can reduce feelings of anxiety. Panic disorder and anxiety attacks share some symptoms, but they differ in intensity, duration, and whether or not there is a trigger.
Treatment options for anxiety disorder
The following medications are used to treat anxiety.
- Initial treatment
At the start of anxiety symptoms, mental health specialists may offer a group course where you and other people with similar problems meet with a therapist for a few weeks to learn ways to tackle your anxiety.
If these initial treatments don't help, you will be offered either a more intensive psychological therapy or medication. This treatment will help you to understand your symptoms and develop ways to cope with them.
- Talking treatment;
You can also try self-help techniques to get rid of anxiety disorder. These are things that you can do at home to help you relax and manage your significant symptoms. It is important to find out what's right for you.
Things won't change overnight, but over time you may notice your symptoms improving. You may involve yourself in sports activities which can divert your attention from things that trigger your anxiety symptoms.
Exercise is another option that is helpful for your mental health. Exercise secretes hormones that make your mind happy and healthy.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy CBT
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Studies of different treatments for GAD have found the benefits of CBT may be lost longer than those of medication, but no single treatment works for everyone.
CBT helps you to question your negative and anxious thoughts. Psychological treatment both cognitive behavioural therapy and applied relaxation involve weekly meetings with a health care professional for about 3 to 4 months.
CBT helps you to understand how your problems and negative thoughts will be ended. Regular exercise, learning to relax, avoiding caffeine and CBT are all approaches that can be effective against anxiety disorder.
- Applied relaxation therapy
This involves learning how to relax your muscles in situations where you normally experience anxiety. Applied relaxation techniques help in releasing a chemical called serotonin which relaxes your mental health.
- Anxiety medications
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are antidepressant medications used to help treat anxiety. Sertraline is the most common SSRI suggested for anxiety disorders, but there are other SSRIs available such as benzodiazepines.
Doctors should only prescribe benzodiazepines if your anxiety is extreme. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs work to increase the level of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin plays a crucial role to elevate your mood and make you happy.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are an older version of psychological medications. Although they may be effective for the treatment of depression and anxiety, doctors often prescribe SSRIs instead, as they cause fewer side effects.
However, TCAs may be useful for some people. TCAs act on the brain hormones which help to ease anxiety symptoms. Possible side effects of Tricyclic antidepressants are dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, and weight gain.
If SSRIs are not effective, the doctor should offer pregabalin. This is a medication known as an anticonvulsant, which is used in the treatment of epilepsy, but it's also beneficial in treating anxiety disorder. Side effects of pregabalin can include; drowsiness dizziness increased appetite dry mouth and weight gain.
Beta-blockers are sometimes used to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat, palpations, and tremors. As they are not psychiatric drugs, so they don't reduce any of the psychological symptoms. They may be helpful in certain situations that trigger your phobia.
Withdrawal symptoms are common with psychological treatments. Therefore the management of these psychological medications needs to be carefully supervised.
If you stop taking these drugs suddenly, withdrawal symptoms may occur, so it is necessary to follow your doctor's instructions for tapering off your medication.
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