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Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a term for several disorders that result into nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. While it is true that we normally experience fear or worry, especially when we are confronted by normal circumstances, like an approaching interview or exam, such manifestations become abnormal when our reaction to a circumstance results into a behavior that is already out of proportion, and that kind of manifestation is anxiety. Anxiety can be classified into mild anxiety, which is vague and unsettling, and severe anxiety creates a serious impact on our daily life.

There are specific classes of mental disorders of anxiety which are characterized by certain symptoms: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Separation Anxiety Disorder.

GAD – The Fear of Failure

GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a chronic manifestation showing excessive, long-lasting anxiety and worry on nonspecific life events, objects, and situations. Sufferers of GAD are always anxious of their health, money, family, work, etc, they have an unrealistic fear of anything, and they have trouble identifying what that fear is and trouble controlling worries.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a kind of anxiety that is characterized by a brief or sudden attack of terror and apprehension which results into shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty in breathing.

The Fear of Being Judged

Social Anxiety Disorder is a kind of anxiety characterized by a fear of being negatively judged by others or a fear of public embarrassment due to an impulsive actions and manifestations of these are stage fright, a fear of intimacy, and a fear of humiliation.

OCD – A Repetitive and Distressing Disorder

An anxiety disorder which is characterized by thought or actions that are repetitive, distressing, and disturbing is referred to as Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder. Sufferers of OCD are particularly obsessive on cleanliness of their personal items or hands and constantly check locks, stoves, light switches.

Separation Disorder

When this high anxiety disorder is characterized by being separated from a person or a place which provides security or safety, this form of disorder is referred to as Separation Anxiety Disorder.

Common causes of these anxiety disorders are environmental factors, medical factors, genetics, brain chemistry, substance abuse, or a combination of these. The triggering factor of these disorders are the stresses that we bear in our lives.

Environmental factors result into several types of anxiety, trauma and stresses, such as – trauma from events, abuse, victimization, death of a loved one, stress in a personal relationship, marriage, friendship, divorce, stress at work, stress from school, stress from finances and money, lack of oxygen in high altitude areas.

Anemia, asthma, infections and heart conditions, these are medical factors where the element of anxiety can come in. Medically-related causes of anxiety may include stress from a serious mental illness, side effects of medication, and lack of oxygen from emphysema or pulmonary embolism.

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