Anxiety Disorder: What is it and what are its symptoms?
Anxiety disorder is a psychiatric disorder in which a person tends to worry and worry unreasonably or excessively.
Anxiety disorder is a psychiatric disorder in which a person tends to worry and worry unreasonably or excessively. People suffering from anxiety or anxiety disorders constantly worry and cannot control the negative thoughts that come to their minds. In order to be diagnosed with anxiety disorder, the symptoms of the disorder must be present in the person for at least 6 months. Common worries that occur in a person due to anxiety disorder; It can be in different areas such as health, money, family or work. While every individual may feel anxious about such issues from time to time, those with anxiety disorders always expect the worst, and this becomes an obstacle to the person living a normal life. Anxiety disorder; In addition to a high level of anxiety, it can manifest itself with different physical symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, sweating, insomnia and tension.
What is Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized anxiety disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by excessive and exaggerated worry about one’s daily life for no apparent reason. Individuals with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and cannot stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school. Everyone feels anxiety and worry from time to time, and they may have good reasons for this. However, in people with anxiety disorders, worry is often unrealistic or disproportionate to the situation being worried about. The person’s daily life is spent in a constant state of anxiety, fear and terror. This felt anxiety eventually becomes so dominant over the person’s thinking that the person; He or she may begin to have difficulty doing even routine things at work, school, social environments and relationships. However, it is possible to control the disease with the help of various treatment methods.
What Causes Anxiety Disorder?
General anxiety disorder often develops as a result of a person’s inability to cope with internal stress. Despite the research, the exact cause of the disease has not yet been determined. However, like many mental health diseases, generalized anxiety disorder is thought to occur secondary to the complex interaction of biological and environmental factors. These factors can be listed as follows:
- Differences in brain functions and chemistry
- genetic factors
- Differences in the way of looking at events and perceiving situations
- Developmental characteristics and personality structure
In addition to these factors, anxiety disorders are more common in some segments of society. For example, it tends to occur more frequently in women than in men. It is also more common in singles and individuals with low education levels. Traumatic experiences that a person had in his past life also negatively affect his anxiety level. People with generalized anxiety disorder may have had traumatic or negative experiences during childhood or recently. People who are temperamentally introverted and have a negative outlook may also be at greater risk of developing anxiety. Living in a stressful environment and having a chronic disease can lead to an increase in the frequency of anxiety disorders.
How is Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed?
Mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychologists, use diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose generalized anxiety disorder. In this manual, called “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder” or simply DSM (Current edition DSM-5), the diagnostic criteria for general anxiety disorder can be listed as follows:
- A state of extreme anxiety and worry that persists for at least six months
- Having difficulty controlling worries
- Anxiety causes significant distress or impairs daily functioning.
- Anxiety; Thyroid problems did not occur due to another physical cause such as substance use.
In addition, the person has three or more of the following symptoms for at least six months:
- Restlessness and feeling stuck in a corner
- getting tired easily
- having difficulty concentrating
- Tension in muscles
- sleep problems
If you observe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in yourself or someone close to you, you can consult a healthcare institution near you for diagnosis. The Psychiatrist from whom you will seek support for your anxiety disorder will first ask you questions about your symptoms and perform a physical examination. He or she may then ask you to have some tests to make sure there is no physical medical condition or substance use causing your symptoms. These tests may include:
- Thyroid function tests: Changes in thyroid hormones can cause anxiety symptoms. For this reason, thyroid hormone levels can be checked for differential diagnosis.
- Blood glucose test: May be ordered to distinguish whether symptoms are due to fluctuations in blood sugar.
- Echocardiography: It can be performed to image the heart and evaluate its functions using ultrasound waves. It helps detect whether physical symptoms are caused by an underlying heart problem.
- Toxicological screening tests: May be performed to distinguish whether the symptoms are caused by a drug or drug used.
What are the symptoms that occur with anxiety disorder?
The main symptom of generalized anxiety disorder is excessive and persistent worry about situations in daily life. This ongoing anxiety and tension may also be accompanied by certain physical symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Don’t get tired easily
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling overwhelmed
- Muscle pains
- Stomach ache
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Generalized anxiety disorder can be treated with the support of a psychiatrist or psychologist if it is not caused by another underlying medical condition. Treatment is often administered as a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. Methods used in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder are:
- Medicines: Medicines do not cure the disease; they can only help control the symptoms. For this purpose, a group of drugs called anxiolytic drugs in the medical literature can be used. Benzodiazepine anxiolytic drugs may be preferred in patients whose symptoms need to be controlled immediately; However, these should be used with caution as they can be addictive. Anxiolytic medications with antidepressant properties may also help relieve anxiety symptoms. However, it may take several weeks for antidepressants to take effect. Antidepressants are safer and more suitable for long-term treatment. Antipsychotics may help some patients, especially those with behavioral problems associated with the condition.
- Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is a talking therapy that aims to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that cause anxiety. This type of therapy helps the person limit distorted thoughts by approaching the issues they are worried about in a more realistic way.
- Alternative Treatments: By making some lifestyle changes and acquiring habits, anxiety disorder can be dealt with more easily. These lifestyle changes and habits may include:
- Exercise: You can develop a routine of getting physical activity most days of the week. Exercise is a good antistressor and can boost your mood. Slowly, gradually increasing the amount and intensity of exercise will be good for your body to get used to it.
- Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercises can help relieve anxiety.
- A healthy diet: Consuming healthy foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains may be linked to reduced anxiety. However, more research is needed to support this issue.
- Adequate and quality sleep: You can create a sleep routine to get sleep and feel rested. If you cannot get a quality sleep, you can get help from your doctor.
- Staying away from cigarettes and coffee: Nicotine in cigarettes and caffeine in coffee can trigger anxiety.
- Not using drugs: Drugs can trigger anxiety.