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What is Anxiety?

Stress and anxiety

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the natural response of your body to stress. It’s that feeling of apprehension or restlessness of not knowing what will happen next. Whether it’s your first day going to school or you’re waiting for the exam results, anxiety will always spring up. 

Anxiety is common in the US, and it affects over 40 million people. It’s one of the most popular mental illnesses, and less than 40% of the affected seek treatment. It’s normal for any person to have anxiety, but if you feel extreme levels of anxiety or if it lasts for six months or more, it’s a sign of anxiety disorder. 

The symptoms of anxiety disorders include worry, fear, apprehension, and excessive nervousness that lasts for a long time. The disorder can affect your emotions and behavior. 

What are Anxiety Disorders?

When you are adjusting to new changes or taking some milestones in your life, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. It can even motivate you to work harder, and it’s temporary since it doesn’t interfere with your daily life. But in anxiety disorders, you are anxious all the time, and it’s intense and does not even fade. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are at higher risk of being diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men. These disorders can prevent you from enjoying your hobbies, fun activities, or even work.

And other times, you may fear entering the elevator, leaving home, crossing the street, or even relationships. Without treatment, the condition might get worse and even lead to depression. 

Types of Anxiety Disorders 

 Some of the anxiety disorders include: 

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

You will feel unrealistic and excessive worry and tension even without reason. The main symptom of this type of disorder is the feeling of losing control of activities and events. Additionally, you may become alert to the surroundings, which massively affects your daily activities and routine. 

It can affect your ability to travel, work, and you may have insomnia, and challenges in concentrating. You may experience other symptoms such as depression. Diagnosing this disorder can be daunting as you won’t exhibit the signs of anxiety disorder.

The common sign of GAD is extreme anxiousness that lasts for six months or more and affects various aspects of your life.

Treatment for GAD 

Since GAD can affect your daily life, you will have to look for treatments to ease the symptoms. They can be in the form of medicine, such as antidepressants or psychological therapies.

You can even go for therapies near you even without a recommendation from the doctor. The medications enable you to manage anxiety. But at times, you have to take medications for long, and symptoms can even worsen when using the drugs. 

Alternatively, you can also do some things to help you deal with the condition at home. For instance, you need to stop using drugs, exercise regularly, and join a self-help course. The NHS library has a wide variety of mental tools and apps that could help you deal with the condition. 


Phobia refers to an intense fear of objects or situations. Sometimes, the fear is because of the reality of the triggers’ danger, or it may be just an exaggeration of the danger of the object or situation.

In phobia, the victim is afraid of encountering some people or situations, and they do their best to avoid them. And if they encounter them, they become extremely anxious. Some examples of phobia triggers are heights, blood, flying, or animals. 

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Though this disorder is common among children, adults also experience it. Separation anxiety disorder is the fear of being separated from someone you love or are attached to.

You are afraid that something bad happens to the person if you’re separated and always try to be with them. Additionally, the affected people may have a nightmare of bad things happening to their attachment figures and usually fear separation. 

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia 

Social phobia is overwhelming anxiety and extreme self-consciousness in social places. It can be as simple as fearing to speak or in social places or fearing some people. Other times, it can be extreme such that you experience anxiety when you are around people. 

Panic Disorder

This is characterized by the feeling of sudden and intense fears that makes you panic. In this attack, the victim experiences chest pains, sweating, and even faster and pounding heartbeats. Other times, they might feel like they’re having a heart attack or they are being choked.

An object can trigger the attacks, situation, or they can occur randomly. People with panic disorders are worried about the next attack’s time, and they usually try to avoid the triggers associated with the attacks. The condition can cause many problems in your personal and work life. 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

From its name, obsessive anxiety disorder occurs when there is an obsession, compulsion, or both. Obsession is something you think about or usually do, and you can’t control it. It’s difficult to ignore, and it could leave you anxious and distressed. 

Compulsion is the activities you do or think to deal with anxiety. If you fail to do the things, you are worried about the unknown, which makes it hard to stop. Your GP can offer you treatment for or suggest other alternatives. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic disorder usually results after making it through a distressing or stressful event. It is common among soldiers and doctors and results from prolonged trauma. 

Risk Factors of Anxiety Disorders

  • Exposure to negative and stressful events in early childhood
  • History of anxiety disorders in family 
  • Use of caffeine and drugs such as alcohol 
  • Different circumstances 

Treatment and Therapies for Anxiety

There are many ways of treating anxiety disorder, including the use of medications, psychotherapy, and both. Additionally, the doctor will recommend the best treatment for a person.

Dealing with Anxiety – Bottom-line 

Anxiety disorders are common, and they affect the way you think and behave. Though it’s normal to experience anxiety, having severe fears of objects or situations can signify a larger issue. You’ll therefore need to visit your doctor 

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