Welcome to our second edition of Mental Health Mondays! If you missed week one you can find the link here.
Last week we dealt with depression and this week I want to tackle the second most common disorder within the Mental Health community:
What are they?
-Anxiety is a common word that is used to describe any emotion associated with feelings of unease, worry, stress, nervousness, or restlessness. These kinds of emotional responses to either external or internal triggers are completely normal. It would be asinine for one to expect our bodies to not react in these ways. However, increased and prolonged exposure to stressful events and triggers can cause those healthy responses in our brains to suddenly turn disastrous. In short, Anxiety Disorders are illnesses brought on by an unhealthy brain that debilitate a person from responding and reacting correctly to any circumstance.
Who do they affect?
-Anxiety Disorders are unfortunately very common. The ADAA suggests that Anxiety Disorders affect around 18% of the American population, or 40 million Americans. Within those numbers they also report that, even though AD’s are extremely treatable, only one-third of those suffering seek medical treatments.
-“Anxiety Disorders” is a broad term used to describe a collection of disorders. Some of these individual diseases include:
–Generalized Anxiety Disorders: “Chronic, exaggerated worry about everyday routine life events and activities, lasting at least six months;”¹
–Obsessive Compulsive Disorders: “Repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts or rituals that seem impossible to control.”¹
–Panic Disorder: “Characterized by panic attacks, sudden feelings of terror that strike repeatedly and without warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, feelings of unreality, and fear of dying.”¹
–Phobia: “Extreme, disabling and irrational fear of something that really poses little or no actual danger;”¹
–Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: “Persistent symptoms that occur after experiencing a traumatic event such as war, rape, child abuse, natural disasters, or being taken hostage”¹
–Social Anxiety Disorder: “Fear of social situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.”¹
How are they treated?
Due to the varying nature and the broad overtones of the specific term, a specific level of treatment is hard to identify. The two most common treatments, as with Depression, are medication and psychotherapy. In order to better educate and effectively raise awareness, we will cover each individual AD in length.
It must be re-emphasized that Anxiety Disorders are not something that the majority of the population deals with. Everyone has varying levels of anxiety in their life. This is an inescapable fact. However, when that Anxiety becomes debilitating, crippling, and affects the normal routine and nature of one’s life, medical assistance should be sought after.
Increased exposure to stressors and anxiety disorders can greatly affect, not just one’s external life, but internal health. Unhealthy levels of stress could possibly cause:
- Bipolar disorder²
- Eating disorders²
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)²
- Sleep disorders²
- Substance abuse²
- Adult ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactive disorder)²
- BDD (body dysmorphic disorder)²
- Chronic pain²
Take your stress seriously. Even though you may not be dealing with any Anxiety Disorders, you could be at risk if that stress steps over the line and into unhealthy areas. Take care of your body!
Next week’s topic: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
**This is not a professional opinion. All information has been researched and cited. Responsibility falls upon the reader and will not fall back upon the author and/or this blog.**