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Diseases & Conditions

Anxiety

AnxietyCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Anxiety?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a medical condition characterized by exaggerated, excessive worry and anxiety about every day events with no obvious justification for the anxiety. The anxiety is very often out of proportion for the situation and unrealistic. For people suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, daily life becomes a never ending state of fear, worry and dread.

Causes of Anxiety

There are a number of factors such as genetic, environmental stresses and brain chemistry which contribute to its appearance.

Genetic: Research seems to suggest that a family history of anxiety related disorders plays an important role in the development of this disease in successive generations.

Environmental Stresses: Certain stressful events, trauma such as abuse, passing away of a loved one, a painful divorce, or changing schools or jobs may lead to Generalized Anxiety disorder. Addiction to and withdrawal from substances such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and drugs can also lead to anxiety in a person’s life.

Brain Chemistry: Anxiety is related to abnormal levels of chemicals like neurotransmitters in the brain. These are special chemicals that help in passing information between various nerve cells. If they are not in balance, the information does not get through to the brain and it alters the way in which a brain reacts to situations.

Medication for Anxiety

There are many drugs available that help in alleviating the symptoms of this disorder. Medications most commonly used to treat anxiety disorder in the short run belong to a group of drugs called tranquilizers or benzodiazepines which help the body to calm down and relax and give relief from muscle tension and restlessness. Common names are Xanax, Valium, Librium, Anitran. Doctors may also prescribe anti depressants such s Effexor, Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac and Zoloft to treat anxiety disorder.

Prevention of Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder cannot be completely prevented but there are some things a person can do to lessen and control the symptoms.

  • Reduce or stop consumption of caffeine related products such as tea and coffee.
  • Ask a physician before taking any herbal remedies or OTC medications as they may contain substances which worsen the condition.
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle and include a healthy balanced diet and moderate exercise daily.
  • Seek support and counseling after any disturbing or traumatic experience.
  • Practice meditation, yoga or other stress relieving techniques

Risk Factors of Anxiety

Some factors may lead to the development of anxiety disorders such as being female, childhood adversity, and any chronic or serious health condition such as cancer, substance abuse, certain personality traits make people more prone to developing this illness and stress which can be a big event or a number of smaller stresses building up.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The physical symptoms for Generalized Anxiety Disorder include, among other things, excessive tension and continuous tension.

  • Symptoms also include a disproportionate and unrealistic stand on the problems.
  • A feeling of being edgy and restless.
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Urge to frequently use the bathroom
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Trembling, getting startled easily
  • Struggling to get sleep or staying asleep.

People, who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, may also have other disorders such as OCD, panic attacks, etc.

Treatment for Anxiety

If no physical symptoms or illness is diagnosed, the person suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be sent to a psychologist or psychotherapists who are specially trained to deal with mental illnesses such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Treatment includes a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy consists of learning to identify and alter thought patters and behaviors that cause anxiety feelings.

Types of Anxiety

There are various types of anxiety disorders such as Phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.