Diagnosing And Treating Anxiety Disorder | Author: Candice Sabrina

In this day and age of juggling work and family, people are under more stress than ever. What may be a temporary bump in the road for some, can be downright debilitating for others. When people refer to anxiety they are often referencing a "feeling" that they get under exorbitant amounts of stress. And we have all experienced what is considered to be anxiety at one time or another. Anxiety disorder, however, is something very different; a general term that medical professionals use to describe a variety of psychological conditions related to fear, anxiety, and phobias.

Most noticeable, anxiety disorder can interfere with everyday activities, getting in the way of work responsibilities, social activities, and personal relationships. Even the most commonplace activities - shopping, driving; even leaving the house - can seem insurmountable to those suffering from an anxiety disorder. The conditions associated with anxiety disorder are numerous and not everyone feels them acutely as others. But these conditions are considered to be a disorder if they are ongoing, irrational, and interfere with daily life.

People who suffer from anxiety in any capacity will report varied emotions when faced with situations that activate their fight or flight response. This feeling of heightened anxiety can also be described as fear - an emotion that the body reacts to by releasing adrenalin throughout the body. When we are not able to calm this reaction - when the fear or anxiety takes over - the adrenalin takes over as well and a host of physiological reactions ensue. Those with anxiety report increased heart rate, sweating, the inability to catch their breath, and paralyzing fear.

Thankfully, there are a number of excellent medications on the market today that have been designed to help people who suffer from anxiety. But in order to treat sufferers appropriately, it is necessary to determine the anxiety disorder subcategory from which the patient suffers.

Generalized anxiety disorder refers to ongoing and persistent fear and anxiety that comes and goes with no particular catalyst. A sufferer of generalized anxiety may feel a heightened state of awareness, fear, and worry most of the time - manifesting itself in a host of physical symptoms including body tension, sleep disorders, headaches, stomach ailments, and heart palpitations.

Panic disorder refers to episodes of anxiety generally provoked by one or several catalysts. The sufferer reacts to a particular stress by experiencing heightened anxiety and panic translated to often severe physical symptoms that sometimes include hyperventilation, dizziness, shaking, and incapacitating fear. Many new sufferers of panic disorder have confused the symptoms of the condition with those experienced during a heart attack.

Social anxiety is anxiety experienced in any social situation, rendering the sufferer incapable of being within groups of people without feeling embarrassed or scrutinized. Often the anxiety is so great that those suffering from this disorder avoid most social interaction.

Phobias also fall under the umbrella of anxiety and include agoraphobia - where sufferers limit their visitation to places because of their fear of anxiety surfacing; many agoraphobics have difficulty leaving their homes for this reason. Other phobias are included in this subcategory as well; in essence, a phobia is an irrational and ongoing fear of a particular place, situation, or object. Often, the fear is so great that people will avoid the catalyst altogether.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is anxiety that is manifested through compulsive behavior - activities that the sufferer can not help but complete. Such disorders vary in severity and circumstance; those who suffer most strongly experience very real feelings of dread if they do not complete certain repetitive, often ritualistic behaviors - checking locks, counting steps, etc. Often the OCD sufferer is completely aware of how irrational their behavior is but they are unable to stop doing it nonetheless.

There are many comprehensive medications on the market today that have made significant strides in managing and even eliminating many disorders of this kind. Those who live with an anxiety disorder no longer have to suffer at the hand of their irrational thoughts; with proper medical diagnosis, supervision, and pharmaceutical intervention if necessary, anxiety need no longer run the show.

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