by HEALTHY HEART CLINICS
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal feeling to experience in reaction to things that happen in life. However, when symptoms of anxiety do not have a start and end point and begin disrupting your life, it’s time to speak with your provider about what you are feeling. Anxiety disorders often feel like frequent, intense, excessive, and persistent worry or fear about everyday situations.
Anxiety disorders include:
- Clinical anxiety
- Social anxiety disorder
- Specific phobias
- Separation anxiety disorder
What causes anxiety?
Researchers don’t know exactly what causes anxiety to occur. However, they suspect it has to do with three factors, chemical imbalance, environmental factors, and genetic factors. Nonetheless, anxiety is just like other forms of mental illness; it does not come from personal weakness, character flaws, or problems with upbringing. Instead, anxiety can be caused by the factors below:
Chemical imbalance: This is a common root cause of anxiety. Chemical imbalances can occur as a result of severe or long-lasting stress. Chemical balance controls your mood. If you are experiencing severe, long-lasting stress, you are at risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
Environmental factors: Trauma can trigger an anxiety disorder. Having a family history of anxiety disorders puts you at higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder after experiencing trauma.
Genetic factors: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You are at higher risk of inheriting an anxiety disorder if you have a family history of anxiety.
What are symptoms of anxiety?
Symptoms of anxiety range depending on the type of anxiety disorder.
Common anxiety symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Increased heart rate or palpitations
- Feeling weak or tired
- Rapid breathing (hyperventilation) or shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping
- GI problems (gastrointestinal disorders)
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Muscle tension
- Sense of impending doom, danger, or panic
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
- Repeated thoughts or flashback of traumatic experiences
- Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
- Lack of ability to be still and calm
- Washing hands repeatedly
- Trouble sleeping at night
When should I see my provider?
See a provider if…
- You are experiencing fear, worry or anxiety that is difficult to control.
- You are experiencing worry that is interfering with your work, relationships, or other parts of your life.
- You are experiencing anxiety and think it could be related to a physical health problem.
- You are experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
How can I improve my quality of life?
These strategies can help you navigate anxiety disorder symptoms as you seek treatment and professional care.
- Medication: You and your provider will work together to find the right medication and dosage for you. It is important to schedule follow-up appointments to monitor and adjust your medication as needed. If you feel like your medication or treatment is not working, contact your provider so you can find the best treatment for you.
- Healthy living: Exercising and eating healthy can reduce your anxiety symptoms.
- Seek help: Speak with a therapist or counselor about your thoughts and feelings as you navigate an anxiety disorder. If you have experienced a traumatic or disturbing event, it is important to seek professional care to help prevent anxiety or unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
- Limit caffeine: limit or stop your caffeine intake you consume including coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
- Get educated: The more you know about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have, the easier it is to navigate the treatment process. Knowing more can also help you gain control over your anxiety disorder. Educating your close friends and family about your anxiety disorder can help them better support you.
Each patient deserves the highest quality of care. Creating a personalized care program tailored to each patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances can help people regain control and maintain optimum health.