Types of Anxiety
Anxiety can have a positive or negative effect on a person depending on degree or severity. Anxiety or nervousness can motivate you to prepare more or do better.
However, when anxiety interferes with your work or school activities or even your daily home routine, it can be debilitating. Consider seeing a mental health professional if anxiety affects your daily life.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).People who have GAD fear and worry a lot about a variety of things. They often have intense feelings of impending disaster. Fearful thoughts and worries distract them from accomplishing and focusing on daily tasks.
- Panic Disorder. People with Panic Disorder have sudden, intense episodes of fear and dread that may be unexplainable or unprovoked. During panic attacks, they hyperventilate, break into a cold sweat, have a rapid heart rate, feel dizzy or lightheaded and have feelings of numbness in their limbs. Due to the intensity of these attacks, you might even fear leaving your home, lest such attacks happen in public.
- Social Phobia.People with social phobia are extremely self-conscious and have intense fears and worries about being ridiculed or embarrassed in public avoiding social situations as a result.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.People who experienced severe emotional trauma from a past event (i.e. abuse, domestic violence, accident, crime, natural disaster) may relive the fear and emotion brought about by these events, even years after the incidents.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).Obsessive thoughts are often unwanted and compulsions are rituals or actions individuals with OCD use to rid themselves of these. For instance, an obsession with thoughts of being clean may have a corresponding compulsion of repetitive washing or bathing.
How to Cope with Anxiety Attacks
Cold, sweaty palms. Shallow breathing. Feeling faint, light-headed or nauseous. Rapid heartbeat. Racing thoughts. Feelings of tension. Horrible fear and dread. Pure. Unexplainable. Dread.
That’s what anxiety attacks can feel like. Here are simple tips to help you cope with anxiety.
- Be mindful of your breathing.Hyperventilation (when you breathe quickly, but you feel like you are not getting enough air) makes other anxiety symptoms worse. You are getting too much oxygen and too little carbon dioxide than your body requires. Hyperventilation leads to other symptoms like chest pain, sweating and dizziness due to the imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
- Breathe, slowly. Practice breathing slowly. Inhale, hold for a few seconds, then exhale.
- Distract yourself. Since anxiety comes with racing thoughts of dread and panic, finding a distraction can shift your focus and divert your brain to something else. Call someone, write about your feelings, or practice mental exercises like visualization. Find what works in diverting your thoughts.
- Move. Engage in physical activities. Exercise and movement release endorphins—neurotransmitters that brighten up your mood, and fight off the stress hormone cortisol. Exercise is good for both physicalandmental health.
- Relaxing activities. Once physical symptoms like hyperventilation, dizziness and rapid heart rate have been addressed, find an activity that relaxes you like reading, painting, or yoga. Find what makes you relax.
- Learn about anxiety. Awareness and knowledge give you power and control over physical symptoms, thoughts and emotions.
- See a professional. If symptoms persist and interfere with daily functioning, get help immediately.
What is Anxiety and How it can develop in Childhood
Anxiety is a fairly common mental health condition. It is marked by excessive- or sometimes extreme- worries or nervousness, which can paralyze individuals from doing their daily tasks. This in turn causes significant distress and interferes with individuals’ functioning in daily life. Anxiety disorders span a wide range – from specific phobias to social fears, bodily concerns to panic – and can be identified in children, adolescents and adults. They do, however, differ in their depth of processing and are often reported differently from each other.
Wherein symptoms may be similar, however, a child or adolescent experiencing an anxiety disorder differs from an adult in terms of insight. This means that a child may be lacking in cognitive capacity to understand the nature of their own anxieties. Furthermore, anxieties often show up as a physical complaint such as a headache, tummy ache, dizziness, or nausea in children to avoid particular situations.
But how are these anxieties formed? If the onset of an anxiety disorder may appear in childhood and grow in severity through adolescence, it is important to understand what we call Mowrer’s 2 Factor Model. The model explains that fear is created through the popular term ‘classical conditioning’. This means that one learns to fear a neutral stimulus which is paired with an intrinsically aversive stimulus. Upon seeing a neutral object, something inside is triggered and the 2nd factor of fear is triggered, known as Operant Conditioning. Here the person gains relief from the situation by avoiding it instead.
The model is further developed to explain that other ways of developing a fear can be rooted in three things. The first is actual exposure to the event; having experienced it themselves, the individual knows better than to repeat this. The second is through modeling, wherein they see someone get hurt through a series of events. And lastly, they develop a fear of a neutral stimulus due to verbal warning; family and friends warn about falling into a situation and thus the individual develops this fear against it.
The Role of Anxiety in Depression
Anxiety occurs as thoughts go through our minds over and over. Like a song that never stops. But the thoughts continue haunting, taunting, menacing: “You’re worthless. You’re no good.” “You can’t do this.” “Why will you even try?” “You’ll never be as good as your brother (or sister)?” “You’re a waste of space.” “What’s the point of living? You can end things now.” The torture of these words bring about both anxiety and depression, sometimes making individuals spiral lower… and lower.
Is it possible to anxious without being depressed? Most studies have shown that anxiety and depression tend to co-exist and severity of the disorders may vary. However, where anxiety disorders are concerned, specific phobias or situations may cause anxiety. Full blown Post Traumatic Stress or General Anxiety Disorders, however, may be a little harder to separate from the depression mix, wherein recollecting details of a depressing event may trigger an anxiety attack.
What can be done about these repeated thoughts? Counter them. Pick yourself up and take action. Plan solutions and follow through. Try something new, one step at a time. Seek professional help. Ask support from your family and friends. And find evidence that counter these irrational thoughts.