Recognising the Symptom – Symptoms of Anxiety

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Occasional attacks of anxiety are normal in every human being. Our biological systems have been programmed since time began with a fight or flight response which originally aided prehistoric men to deal with threatening situations. Although modern humans no longer need worry about attacks from dangerous dinosaurs, we do experience daily doses of stressful situations at work, at home, or in our personal relationships.

In those people who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the severity and amount of anxiety attacks are beyond the scope of what is considered normal. Feelings of fear and apprehension are enough to interfere with day-to-day activities and often preclude healthy relationships with others.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders include those which are both psychological and physical.

Psychological symptoms

·        Angry feelings
·        Feelings of insanity
·        Thoughts of impending doom or death
·        Feelings of being outside yourself
·        “Blank” periods of time
·        Loss of concentration
·        Constant worry
·        Lethargy
·        Irritability
·        Problems with short-term memory
·        Problems falling asleep or staying asleep

Physical symptoms

·        Abdominal pain
·        Difficulty breathing
·        Diarrhoea
·        Difficulty swallowing
·        Feelings of dizziness
·        Feeling faint
·        Frequent urination
·        Sever headaches or migraines
·        Digestive problems
·        Tension in muscles
·        Racing heartbeat
·        Sweating
·        Paleness or redness of complexion
·        Chest pain or tightness
·        Tingling in extremities

These symptoms are common in anyone experiencing a fight or flight response as they are the result of an overabundance of adrenaline released in the body’s system. However, in someone suffering from an anxiety disorder, they occur frequently, often daily, and persist for six weeks or more. This is the main difference between a healthy individual and one who suffers from an anxiety disorder.

Quite similar but requiring a different diagnosis is a class of anxiety disorder called a phobia. This refers to extreme anxiety associated with a particular thing, or event. The general category of anxiety disorders also includes panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to generalised anxiety disorder.

There is no cure for anxiety disorders. Treatment usually involves a combination of medication, counselling, and behavioural modifications. The good news is that anxiety can be controlled and the symptoms minimised. The key in getting well is to seek appropriate treatment by consulting with a physician. If necessary, you may be referred to a mental health professional for further management options.

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