What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural defense mechanism that responds when the body perceives a threat. It represents a person's way of reacting to a real or imaginary danger or concern. It is appropriate to use the colloquial term 'overwhelm' to describe anxiety. During this response, individuals typically experience physical and emotional symptoms such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, sweating, difficulty concentrating, and a sense of worry..
Anxiety can manifest itself at a specific moment of threat or persistently as a state of constant worry and concern. When anxiety becomes more intense than normal and disrupts daily functionality, it may indicate anxiety disorders. It is necessary to treat these disorders that negatively impact an individual's daily life.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
Although the symptoms of anxiety and their impact can vary from person to person, different complaints may be observed depending on the type of anxiety disorder. However, generally speaking, the complaints that can develop due to anxiety can be listed as follows:
The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
• Rapid or irregular heartbeat
• Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
• Abdominal pain or stomach discomfort
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Muscle tension or trembling
The Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety
• Persistent feelings of worry or anxiety
• Fear or panic attacks
• Inner restlessness
• Impatience, quick irritability, tendency to get angry
• Difficulty concentrating (sustaining attention)
• Persistent anxious thoughts
• Phobias or fears
The Behavioral Symptoms of Anxiety
• Avoidance behaviors (avoidance of social interaction, avoidance of specific situations)
• Constant seeking of control or reassurance
• Sleep problems (excessive arousal)
• Social withdrawal
• Changes in appetite
• Emotional outbursts or irritability
The Cognitive Symptoms of Anxiety
• Persistent anxious thoughts
• Fears or phobias
• Negative anticipations
• Constant sense of danger
• Irrational or excessive thinking
Why Does Anxiety Occur?
Since anxiety arises from various and complex reasons, the factors causing this issue can vary from person to person. In some cases, multiple factors can contribute to the onset of anxiety. However, when looking at the disorder in general, factors that may contribute to its occurrence include
Genetic Factors/Family History: ike many conditions, genetic factors play a role in the development of anxiety. A person with a family history of anxiety among relatives is more likely to experience anxiety.
Brain Chemistry: One of the conditions that can lead to anxiety is changes in brain chemistry. Specifically, an imbalance in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine is known to contribute to anxiety disorders.
Environmental and Social Factors: Traumatic experiences during childhood, intrafamily stress, abuse, or environmental stress factors constitute an important factor in the development of anxiety, as is the case with many psychological issues. Additionally, living under intense stress can also be influential in the development of anxiety disorders. Social factors such as social isolation, challenging relationships, or work-related stress can also exacerbate anxiety.
Additionally, personality traits, certain medical conditions, or substance use are also among the factors that can contribute to the development of anxiety. Understanding that multiple factors play a role in the development of anxiety disorders is important. Treatment may require seeking professional help to understand these factors and determine appropriate treatment methods.
What Are the Types of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders with different types vary in terms of symptoms and triggers. Therefore, making the correct diagnosis is of utmost importance in treatment.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a condition that involves a person being in a constant state of worry and anxiety. The individual with generalized anxiety disorder expresses continuous concern about their health, future, work, or family situation. This anxiety often arises without a specific reason and negatively impacts the person's daily life.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Social anxiety disorder is the intense anxiety that a person experiences from social interactions or being in a group. This type of anxiety is associated with the fear of behaving embarrassingly or judgmentally in society.
Panic disorder, one of the anxiety disorders, is characterized by unexpected panic attacks and the anticipation anxiety that these attacks may occur suddenly again, along with avoidance behavior. Panic attacks manifest with intense physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations, or trembling. Accompanied by a strong sense of fear, these attacks drive the person with panic disorder to the constant fear of experiencing an attack.
Specific phobias involve intense fear and avoidance behaviors associated with specific objects, situations, or activities. Examples include fear of flying, fear of heights, or animal phobias.
How is Anxiety Disorder Treated?
Anxiety disorder is a condition that can be successfully treated. However, the crucial point here is the accurate identification of the individual's situation and tailoring the treatment to the severity of symptoms, the person's characteristics, and needs.
In the treatment of anxiety, various approaches can be used either individually or in combination, such as therapy (psychotherapy), medication, lifestyle changes, and support groups.