Treatment of anxiety

on 30 December 2019, 09:00 AM
Written by Nasser AL-Fadhli

During their lifetime, most people undergo certain situations and experiences that may cause anxiety. Experiencing anxiety in stressful situations is normal and regarded as a positive mechanism. However when the anxiety is intense and lasts for a long period of time ranging from months to years, this suggests that the individual could possibly suffer from an anxiety disorder.  This disorder causes a state of excessive and unrealistic anxiety with a sense of fear which exceeds what is considered as a simple reaction to a situation.

What is anxiety disorder?

The definition of anxiety disorder: Known as a psychological state that occurs in people as a result of the combination of many cognitive and behavioural elements that leads to a person feeling a state of psychological discomfort, a feeling of overwhelming fear and anxiety, with the inability to determine the exact cause. The anxiety may manifest itself in the form of clear and apparent tension that lasts for long periods of time because the person believes they are at risk, in some cases the risk actually exists, and in many cases the danger is just a fictitious feeling and a delusion which leads to experiencing severe anxiety. This has a negative impact on the person’s quality of life, and limits them a lot of the time when carrying essential daily tasks.

There is a clear difference between chronic anxiety and normal levels of anxiety experienced by people in their daily lives, usually caused by thinking and burdens, and sometimes it’s the result of stress and tension.  Chronic anxiety is characterised by its persistence and intensity, it is out of proportion for the present situation.

Therefore the treatment of stress, anxiety and lack of sleep that are co-morbid symptoms

Which is why this type is not categorised as an anxiety disorder.  Short term anxiety works as a reaction and sign of warning of a potential state of danger, therefore preparing individuals to overcome challenges and dangerous situations. But it becomes a problem when it exceeds its natural levels, therefore experiencing a certain level of anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however when this exceeds its boundaries it now becomes a type of stress that requires treatment of severe anxiety.

What are the different levels of anxiety disorder?

The intensity and severity of the disorder are divided into three main levels:

  • Low levels of anxiety:

At this level of anxiety, there is a first instance of vigilance, heightened attention, sensitivity to external events,  increased awareness of the risks and how to deal with those external dangers. This level of anxiety is a warning to risks that are about to occur.

  •  Medium levels of anxiety:

 At this level of anxiety an individual starts experiencing a decreased ability of performance and creativity; everything seems new which becomes threatening for the individual, who tries through increased effort to act appropriately to face different situations in life.

  • High levels of anxiety:

And at high levels of anxiety, a breakdown in behavioural structure occurs within the individual. The individual deals with the situation in a more primitive way and manner, in which the situation is not dealt with accordingly, but instead the individual shows exaggeration in reaction and his behaviour becomes troubled.

What are the main characteristics of anxiety patients?

Fear is almost an essential characteristic in anxiety patients. They are easily aroused by a sense of fear, when you see a person who suffers from anxiety, you feel as though they’re looking for an opportunity to express their disturbance, and therefore they become prone to developing a stress related disorder.

 In this topic we will talk about the characteristics of people with anxiety, characteristics are identified as follows (difficulty in concentration and distraction, extreme sweating, fast breathing, problems in dealing with others, disturbances in sleep, inactivity and weakness, and gastrointestinal disorders).

What are the types of anxiety disorder?

  1. Agoraphobia: An intense fear of being in public places where you feel escape might be difficult.
  2. Anxiety disorder due to medical condition: This occurs as a result of a person’s injury, particular disease or health problem.
  3. General anxiety disorder: The excessive stress in carrying out any activities or engaging in events, even day to day activities.
  4. Panic disorder: one of the most severe types of anxiety in terms of intensity, usually lasts a few minutes, physiological characteristics include individuals experiencing difficulty in breathing, and chest pain.
  5. Separation anxiety: A form of childhood anxiety disorder, where the child feels frightened and worried when separated from parents.
  6. Social anxiety: Extreme feelings of shyness, self-consciousness, and fear. As a result a person feels uncomfortable participating in everyday social situations.

What are the symptoms of anxiety disorder?

Anxiety disorder is associated with what is known as physical response in the Neuroendocrine system, these responses can either be reactive or responsive, and these reactions are activated when the person witnesses a threat to their safety, whether that’s imaginary or realistic which results in the release of stress related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, even though it’s a natural propulsion mechanism but overtime it may backfire and cause stress for the adrenal gland.

  Symptoms of anxiety include a range of physical symptoms such as:

  1. Dryness of the mouth with difficulty swallowing and a lump in the throat.
  2. Abdominal pain.
  3. Hyperhidrosis: excessive sweating.
  4. Diarrhoea
  5. Heart palpitations : abnormality in heart beat.
  6. Trembling and twitching
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Chest pains.

 The psychological symptoms caused by anxiety disorders include

  1. Insomnia: that could either be difficulty in sleeping or experiencing trouble whilst sleeping.
  2. Extreme confusion
  3. Constant feeling of dissatisfaction
  4. Fatigue
  5. Lack of focus
  6. Quick rage and arousal
  7. Excessive anger
  8. Isolation
  9. Loss of control

How to diagnose anxiety and stress?

 There are many criteria through which anxiety and stress disorder are diagnosed in people including; the individual unexplainable feelings of fear and anxiety. The anxiety, tension and fear accompany the individual for many months. The person struggles to confront these negative feelings and therefore these feelings become overwhelming. The anxiety is accompanied by many neurological symptoms such as emotional arousal, distraction, difficulty of concentration and the most severe symptoms are difficulties in sleep. The anxiety hinders the person’s quality of life, and they cannot maintain their normal course of life.