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The Many Faces of Anxiety

Written by Courteney

Posted on March 18, 2016 at 8:16 pm

When you think of anxiety, you may think of frantic worrying, erratic thoughts and hair-pulling stress, but anxiety can manifest itself in different ways for different people.

Is Anxiety Another Word For ‘Worry’?

Anxiety can be limited to uncontained worries, but it can also encompass such emotional symptoms as general feeling of unease or apprehension, nervousness (typically because of an upcoming an event or issue), concern, fear, agitation, angst, tension, or even disorientation. Anxiety is often described as the feeling of “butterflies” in one’s stomach. Most fleeting, or isolated anxiety bouts are because of stressful events such as family or friend conflicts, moving, losing or gaining a job, or losing relationships through death or insurmountable conflict (for example divorce). Certain situations such as living and coping with a serious medical illness or a perpetually over-demanding job may lead to long-term stress and anxiety which may require treatment.

The Many Symptoms of Anxiety

Concentrated or prolonged anxiety can have physical effects on the body. Anxiety goes hand-in-hand with stress, which we all know causes physical strain as well as mental. Some physical symptoms of acute or persistent anxiety include:

  • Tension headaches
  • An elevated “pounding” heartrate
  • Muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders
  • Forgetfulness or confusion
  • Diaphoresis (excessive sweating)
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bouts of dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal or urinary problems

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should check in with your doctor or one of our certified DocChat physicians, as some of them can be related to other potentially serious health conditions.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

So are your worries just worries? Or is something larger at play? Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition marked by constant, and disproportionate or irrational worry about various areas of life. On average, someone who is acutely anxious spends approximately an hour a day focused on a couple particular stressors that are going on in life, while someone with GAD may spend over 5 hours a day worrying and obsessing about an array of topics. Such topics may include: how others feel towards them, if their pet is okay, if everyone they love is okay, if they may have said something to offend the cashier earlier, if there is something unknown wrong with their physical health, and the list goes on. The lives of GAD sufferers can be severely impacted by uncontrolled anxiety and often require medication or other therapy.

Other Types Of Anxiety Disorders

  1. Social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder, where a person is extremely fearful and apprehensive of social situations. This doesn’t include people who are just socially awkward or would rather stay home to watch Netflix. It usually involves serious fear and worry about interacting with others, to the point that a person may need exposure or talk therapy or medication to undergo even menial social tasks such as shopping at the mall.
  2. Panic disorder is an anxiety-based condition where frequent and often unfounded panic attacks occur. There are varying degrees of this disorder, ranging from infrequent spontaneous attacks to debilitation, where the sufferer lives in constant stress and fear of when the next attack may strike. Often medication is prescribed when the disorder begins to interfere with the person’s day-to-day activities.
  3. Phobia disorders are also classified as anxiety disorders. An example would be agoraphobia: the intense, debilitating fear of leaving the comfort and shelter of one’s home. This phobia is usually comorbid with social anxiety.

Is Anxiety Ruling Your Life?

If you are experiencing more than just the occasional bout of anxiety and you feel like it is impeding on your life or preventing you from keeping up with daily activities, it is time to speak to your doctor or one of DocChat’s highly qualified physicians. A doctor can talk to you about potential treatment options such as therapy, medications, or other stress management tactics that may help you control your anxiety instead of having it controlling you.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Keep an eye out for a future post on ways to cope with anxiety!

 

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