What is anxiety? What causes it? And how can we deal with the issue. The truth is that anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of ways in people, and is caused by wide ranging factors. It is generally described as a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, which can range in level of severity. Below we take a look at some of the main causes of anxious behaviour:
- Chemical Imbalances
- Drug & Alcohol Abuse
- Deep Rooted Fears
- Genetic Factors
- Previous Experiences
- Feeling On Edge
- Difficulty Sleeping
There is a small organ in the brain called the Amygdala that is believed to control anxiety. It acts as an anxiety barometer and serves in cooperation with the bodies fight or flight response. Unfortunately however, it can be knocked out of sync by any one, or a combination of the factors mentioned above.
Feeling anxious occasionally is a perfectly normal human emotion, however it is when it becomes more regular, more severe and crippling in nature that it needs to be dealt with. Uncontrollable anxiety is usually referred to as General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and is generally characterised by the following symptoms:
Having anxiety as a result of a particular phobia, such as being afraid of spiders etc. is sometimes easier to deal with, as the sufferer knows what triggers their anxiety. However, with GAD, it is not always clear what is causing the issue and it can therefore be more difficult to identify any triggers and effectively deal with the problems at hand. When attempting to deal with and cure GAD, there are typically two main methods used – psychological therapy and medication. These treatments can be used on their own, but are often used in conjunction with one another to maximise impact.
Most commonly Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) such as fluoxetine and citalopram will be prescribed to people suffering with anxiety issues. These drugs are anti-depressants and serve to reduce the symptoms displayed by anxiety sufferers, whilst increasing the level of serotonin in the brain.
Whilst medication can mask the symptoms caused by anxiety, to make long term changes, an appointment with a psychiatrist is usually required. In recent years, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has emerged as an effective new treatment for sufferers of depression, anxiety and panic related disorders. It encourages a logical thinking approach, discussing potential causes, triggers and methods to process the information and take control of your feelings and thoughts. This therapy has had great success so far in helping people with a range of issues.
Much like with depression, there is still social stigma regarding anxiety and other mental health issues. Having GAD can however, be a crippling illness that should not be treated lightly, as it can affect all area of life, from work to family to friends. Anyone who is feeling anxious for a prolonged period of time should contact their GP and arrange an appointment, as doctors are well versed in identifying the severity of the condition and the necessary course of action to aid recovery.