The ABC’s of Anxiety

5Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength

~Charles Spurgeon

Hi Feministas!

As some of you all know I am a Mental Health advocate and founder of Speak Away the Stigma, an organization I started to encourage the discussion around mental illness and mental health.  Each month I will share information on a specific mental illness or mental health topic.  If you’d like to see a post about a specific illness or topic please comment below, email, or tweet me!

What is Anxiety?

A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.  People with anxiety disorders will often experience these feelings in excess, whereas other people won’t given the same situation.  According to the Center for Disease Control, anxiety disorders are more common in women than men and occur at a higher rate in developed countries.

What are the symptoms?

According to mayoclinic.com, some common signs and symptoms include: (these feelings are excessive or constant)

-Feeling nervous and/or powerless

-Having an increased heart rate

-Feeling weak or tired

-Trouble concentrating on anything other than the present worry

-Trembling and/or Sweating

Some types of Anxiety disorders:

Separation Anxiety Disorder-Anxiety related to separation from parents or parental figures.  This is often seen in children, however the effects may last into adulthood.

Selective Mutism is characterized by consistently not being able to speak  in certain situations, even though you have the ability to do so.  This disorder may cause a person not to be able to speak to anyone at all or just certain people.

-Social Anxiety Order is, also known as social phobia, is characterized by  extreme levels of anxiety when in social situations. Many people with social phobias will avoid situations all together or can only tolerate the setting for a short period of time.

-Phobias are irrational and disabling fears of things or events that pose no real threat.  Phobias can prevent people from participating in everyday activities.

-Generalized Anxiety Order is constant and extreme concern about an activity or event.  Many people will lose the ability to focus on task because they are worried about the activity or event.  This type of anxiety is usually happens with another type of anxiety or depression .

-Panic Disorder, also called Panic Attacks,  occur suddenly and sometimes without warning.  The person feels an overwhelming fear of a person, event, or place and may experience chest pain, heart palpitations, and trouble breathing.

**According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, OCD and PTSD are also classified as anxiety disorders; there will be separate post on each of these.  

Causes of Anxiety:

As with most mental illness, the exact cause is unknown.  Studies suggest it may be biological or environmental, or a combination of both.  There are types of anxiety caused by medical illness and others can be caused by brain injury.

Treatment for Anxiety:

Cognitive therapy is often one of the first treatments used for anxiety.  In more severe cases of anxiety disorders are treated with medication and psychotherapy.  Regular exercise and a healthy diet are have been known to decrease the symptoms.

If you experience these symptoms please share it with a least one close friend of family member.  Speaking about it with someone you trust can often lift a huge weight off of you.  If you have a loved one that experiences anxiety, don’t push them to go beyond their comfort level and encourage them to seek professional help.

For more information on Anxiety Disorders:

http://www.nami.org/Search?searchtext=anxiety&searchmode=anyword

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/anxiety-disorders

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