It’s quite normal to feel nervous and have butterflies in your stomach before going to a job interview, a blind date or making an important decision. This anxiousness is body’s natural response to stress and danger. It is an automatic alarm that rings when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are going through a stressful moment. While this condition doesn’t have any long-term effect on the body, in certain cases, it becomes so intense that it starts interfering with your day to day life. So, if your feelings of anxiety are constant and persisting from more than 6 months, you might be having the anxiety disorder.
Difference between Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder
Everyone feels anxious when they face a stressful or embarrassing situation. Although this normal feeling that comes and goes is unpleasant too, it motivates us to work harder and do a better job. It helps us stay alert and focused, but does not interfere with our everyday life. But when anxiety prevails for a long time and starts interfering with our relationships and activities, it stops being productive and becomes dangerous.
In the case of an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear is so intense that it may even cause you to stop doing things you once enjoyed. In extreme cases, a person suffering from anxiety disorder fears to enter an elevator, crossing the road or even leaving the home. The condition keeps getting worse if untreated. Apart from the feeling of butterflies in the stomach, or racing heart, you could also experience nightmares or painful thoughts or memories that are uncontrollable.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might be having anxiety disorder:
• Feelings of fear, and uneasiness
• Surge of overwhelming panic
• Problems falling asleep
• Cold or sweaty hands or feet
• Hot flashes or chills
• Shortness of breath or Hyperventilation
• Heart palpitations or chest pain
• Trembling or shaking
• Not being able to be still and calm
• Dry mouth
• Muscle tension
• Feeling of losing control or going crazy
How Anxiety Disorder is Diagnosed?
A Doctor carefully evaluates the symptoms to diagnose the condition. If any of the above-mentioned symptoms are present, the doctor begins the evaluation by asking the person questions about his medical history. They also perform a physical exam to look for other medical illness that could be the cause of the symptoms.
If no other illness is found, the person may be referred to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another trained mental healthcare professional. Psychologists and psychiatrists use specially designed assessment tools to evaluate a person for an anxiety disorder.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorder
To treat this disorder, it’s important to address the underlying medical conditions. Although the exact treatment approach depends on the type of disorder, one or a combination of medication, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy or relaxation therapy may be used for most anxiety disorders.
Medication: Medications used to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders include antidepressants, low-dose antipsychotics, certain anticonvulsant medicines and other anxiety-reducing drugs.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy involves a face to face counseling session with the Psychiatrist. The trained therapist helps the person suffering from anxiety by talking to them directly to understand and deal with their problems.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: With this therapy, the person learns to identify and challenge the negative thought patterns and irrational beliefs that lead to troublesome feelings and fuel anxiety.
The Bottom Line
In addition to above-mentioned therapies and treatment, changes in lifestyle and dietary can also help a person ease out the symptoms of anxiety. Your own will power to overcome the fears and an inner urge to reduce negative feelings can have a great positive effect on your life.