It is one of the most frequent mental disorders in today’s society. However, it can be dealt with and overcome. We tell you some of the most common types of anxiety and the keys to preventing it.
Anxiety is an unpleasant, diffuse and vague sensation of restlessness. As Kaplan points out, it is often accompanied by headaches, palpitations, chest tightness and gastric discomfort, although it varies from person to person. In reality, anxiety is a warning sign (as is fear); Warns of imminent danger and allows a person to take action against the threat. In this sense, it is a positive mechanism for the integrity of the human being.
However, anxiety, often for different reasons, is a disorder, characterized by palpitations, sweating and a sense of fear. It also affects thinking, producing confusion and decreasing memory and concentration. All this causes a mismatch in the patient’s relationship with other people and the world around him.
Anxiety disorders are the most common among mental illness. Recent studies show that 30% of women and 20% of men will suffer some form of anxiety disorder throughout their life. Fortunately, they can be dealt with and overcome.
Anxiety and anguish are words that are used indistinctly on many occasions. Anxiety refers, however, to a more physical sensation characterized by oppression in the chest or stomach and which is accompanied by an imminent fear of dying or going mad. These are the most common anxiety disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
It consists of the general experience of anxiety, with constant tension and excessive concern for everyday situations and the future. In addition, the affected person suffers from muscular tension, fatigue, lack of concentration and irritability. In many cases it is accompanied by insomnia. These symptoms limit the person to the normal development of their daily activities.
This disorder usually appears in the young years and is more frequent in women than in men. Anxiety has no direct relation to any particular event, unlike what happens with other anxiety disorders.
Panic Disorder or Anxiety Disorder
It consists of experiencing sudden and intense anxiety attacks or angst crisis. Those who suffer the attack have the feeling that they can die or go crazy. It is also characterized by chest pressure, choking sensation, tremor, sweating, nausea and palpitations.
The attacks last between 10 and 30 minutes, and do not always occur in the face of a specific situation, although situations are detected that predispose to suffer them. It is more frequent in women and is usually present in youth.
It is characterized because the person feels fear to be the focus of attention of the people, to speak in public and to relate with many people, for fear of his critics or to make the ridiculous. Those who suffer from social phobia are anxious and worried about having to speak in public, eating with other people, and asking questions in public. They fear, therefore, to attend to foods, dinners, parties, weddings and other social events, reason why they tend to avoid them.
Social phobia usually occurs in youth and is more common in women than in men. Unlike agoraphobia, having a close friend does not help the phobic at all.
People suffering from agoraphobia experience intense psychological and physical anxiety in certain situations. These would be some of them:
- In closed spaces difficult to exit
- In places where nobody would come if you ask for help
- In unknown and strange environments
- In public places with many people
As a result, these people tend to avoid many situations, which has a very negative impact on their daily lives. Some people have great difficulty getting out of their home. Agoraphobia occurs most frequently in people with panic disorder. Having a friend on the side relieves agoraphobia, so it is very important for the agoraphobic to have company.
Phobias are exaggerated and irrational fears in situations that would not provoke this reaction in other people. The most frequent are the following:
- To animals
- To storms, strong winds, downpours
- To body damage, injections, punctures, to the blood
- Fear of exhaustion, vomiting, contracting a disease etc.
Preventing and Treating Anxiety
Exercise periodically: Physical exercise improves overall health and symptoms such as anxiety and distress. It also has a preventive effect. Aerobic activities such as swimming, jogging or cycling are especially recommended. Sport is most beneficial when practiced consistently and methodically.
Practice relaxation techniques: There are different relaxation methods that prevent and treat anxiety. It is convenient to learn a specific technique supervised by experts, and then develop it autonomously, at the time and place that is appropriate for the patient.
Learning to breathe slowly: Breathing with excessive frequency and depth can aggravate and even trigger an anxiety crisis. Therefore, it is beneficial to practice breathing exercises, making it slow, relaxed and waiting about three seconds between each exhalation and the next inspiration.
Treatment through psychotherapy and medication: Some psychotherapeutic techniques are used in the treatment of these disorders. A central point of psychotherapy is to identify and detect the symptoms of anxiety in one (worry, fear of dying or going crazy, sweating, palpitations, tremors, etc.). Those situations or places that generate anxiety must also be identified.
Through psychotherapy you learn to control panic attacks and anxiety attacks. Likewise, situations that were previously avoided are progressively addressed. All this reduces the level of concern of the patient.
In certain cases, medications such as anxiolytics and antidepressants are used. Of course, psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy should be prescribed and carried out by specialists.