According to a great philosopher called Soren Kierkegaard, in The Concept of Society (1844), anxiety is a dizziness of freedom that can be cured by self-awareness, consciousness, and discipline in decision-making. It is more common in women than in men.
Anxiety disorders are the most frequent psychiatric disease affecting both children and adults. An estimate of about 40 million American adults are suffering from anxiety disorders. Only about one-third of individuals suffering from anxiety disorders are treated, despite the fact that the disorders are treatable.
Anxiety is an internal emotion that occurs in humans. It is often characterized by uneasiness, unstableness, hyperactivity, pacing back and forth, somatic complaint, and rumination. It is a subjective feeling that is described by over expectation of a future event or occurrence. It often occurs, when people are overreacting towards an expected future event or circumstance. For example, the night before your wedding, or that evening before your first date with your crush.
What is the Difference Between Anxiety and Fear?
Fear is a response to an event or immediate threat while anxiety is an emotion released during the expectation of this threat. Getting anxious is a normal thing in this era because we live in an age in which there are always a lot of surprises awaiting us every day. We get anxious over a lot of things, like a wedding day, job interview, birthday gifts, and the first date with a loved ones or a crush.
Getting anxious is a good thing. It was proven that anxiousness could help you prepare better for an imminent threat, future event, or occurrence. Anxiousness can help you prepare your mind for all the things that could go wrong in a future event or circumstance. Anxiety can also be defined a mental state when an individual faces a future threat, where their skills are incapable of handling.
When is Anxiousness Dangerous?
Anxiousness becomes pathological and dangerous when it occurs regularly. The regular occurrence of anxiousness can be classified as a group of a diseases called anxiety disorders.
Types of Anxiety
- Existential: This is a type of anxiety that is directed towards your existence as a human or your future. You worry about what you would become tomorrow or in the future. This type of anxiety is focused on things that do not exist in the present.
- Test and performance anxiety: This is a type of anxiety that occurs before a performance, test, or competition. This is familiar with students having a difficult exam, actors, singers, comedians, before a show or competition.
According to Yerkes-Dodson law, there is a physiological level of anxiety produced by the body during an exam, show, or game. However, when this physiological level is exceeded, it leads to a decline in performance and adverse outcome. This type of anxiety is common in students, due to fear of embarrassment from the teacher, pressure from parents and friends to succeed, or fear of failure. This kind of anxiety is responsible for stage fright, somatic, test and mathematical anxiety.
- Social anxiety: this type of anxiety is displaced IN PEOPLE THAT HAVE PROBLEMS WITH SOCIAL INTERACTION, particularly when they MEET NEW individuals or STRANGERS. These people tend to withdraw themselves and isolate themselves from meeting new people or interacting with strangers.
- Trait anxiety: this type anxiety is used to describe individuals with a stable response to particular future events. For example, if you have a form of permanent anxiety, a night before every interview. Trait anxiety could be the short or long term.
- Choice or decision anxiety: This is a type of anxiety that occurs when we have difficulty in picking between two close products, options, or opinions. This happens in women, for example, a woman being confused on choosing between two dresses, after deciding before entering the shop the one she wanted. In this era, we are faced with close and great choices and options, close competition and less time to make our decisions or choose other options.(Capgemini 2004).
Risk Factors Associate with Anxiety
- Neuro-circulatory problems: The amygdala is part of the brain responsible for controlling anxiety. When the amygdala is affected, the ability of the body to control anxiety could be impaired, predisposing an individual to Generalized anxiety disorders.
- Genetic and family history: Anxiety has been linked to genetic and previous parental history of anxiety. People with a familial history of anxiety are at a higher risk of developing anxiety.
- Previous medical conditions: Some medical conditions predispose an individual to have anxiety. This condition includes those that cause dyspnea such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) and asthma.
- Substance-induced: Anxiety can be caused by various substances such as alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and benzene. When this material is taken over an extended period, it predisposes an individual to anxiety disorders.
- Psychological alteration: People with various kinds of mental issues such as poor coping skills, impaired cognitive function, and reduced social interaction with people are prone to having anxiety disorders.
- Social factors: Various types of social factors such as physical, emotional, or financial abuse could predispose an individual to have an anxiety disorder, It could also occur in people that have experienced rejection, or loss f loved ones, projects, or item.
Anxiety is a regular part of our emotion and is exhibited from time to time by everyone. However, when it starts impairing your everyday life or becomes too frequent and constant, it is classified under a group of mental illnesses called anxiety disorders.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
- Panic disorder: As the name implies, individuals suffering from panic disorder, often panic at random. This disorder is characterized by random fear, or terror, sweating, palpitation, chest pain, dyspnea, or choking.
- Social anxiety disorders: This is also called social phobia, because individuals suffering from this type of disorder, often have problems with social interaction with people. They fear the way people would perceive or judge them, the fear of ridiculement and embarrassment is the leading cause of anxiety in this group of individuals. This kind of disorder is present in people suffering forme stage fright. The difference between normal stage fright and stage fright due to anxiety is then, an anxiety disorder, the person spends a long time after the event worrying how they were perceived or judged.
- Specific phobias: This is the type of phobia directed at a particular object, action, events, or things. Some people are hydrophobic( far of water). People can have particular fear for different things such as height, water, e.t.c.
- Generalized anxiety disorder: this is a type of disorders, that cannot be linked to and trigger or known etiology, most individuals suffering from this disorder, often fell anxious, unnecessarily worried, for no particular They just feel anxious and worried, without being able to link to any known etiology or trigger. It is a generalized anxiety and not peculiar to a particular trigger, events, or cause. For an individual to be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorders, the individual must have been having anxiety symptoms, worrying about little and big things, most days of the week for at least 6 months.
Causes of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder is a multifactorial disease, that is caused by the combination of many factors, ranging from psychological to environmental factors.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
- Uneasiness, and restlessness
- Insomnia: This is common in even ordinary people, you can suffer from insomnia, a day before a big exam or interview, but how do you differentiate insomnia in a typical person from an anxiety disorder? In an Anxiety disorder, the insomnia is combined with palpitation, restlessness and other anxiety-related.
- Cold and sweaty feet
- Numbness of feet
- Increased muscular tension
- Gastro-intestinal problems: Anxiety of the digestive tract is a type of anxiety that causes gastrointestinal symptoms. It often occurs concomitantly with irritable bowel syndrome(IBS). Some of the symptoms include bloating, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, and cramping.
- Stage fright
- Flash black: According to the journal of anxiety, it was discovered that non-traumatizing flash banks occur in individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders or social anxiety.
- Compulsive behavior
Some signs and symptoms of anxiety mimics heart attack; such symptoms include: dyspnea, dizziness, numbness, chest pain, vertigo, sweating, fainting, and trembling
Difference Between Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders
- Worry: we all typically worry about basic things such as bills to pay, exams, relationships, jobs, but in anxiety disorders, there is a consistent worry that often affects the normal day-to-day activities of an individual.
- Embarrassment: It is normal for us as humans to feel bad when we are embarrassed, but in anxiety disorders, these people avoid going to social places and public places due to the fear of embarrassment.
- Sweating and nervousness: being nervous before an exam, interview, public speaking or a big show is normal. In anxiety disorder patients, they are preoccupied with so much fear, that they almost avoid the program due to the fear of failure and people’s opinion.
- Fear: Being scared of dangerous places, objects, or animals is a normal physiological response, an anxiety disorder, these individuals fear even non-dangerous things.
- Insomnia after a traumatic event: It is usual to experience insomnia after traumatic events such as accident, but in anxiety disorder patients, there are frequent flashbacks lasting for an extended period after the traumatic events.
Can Chronic Anxiety Cause a Heart Attack?
According to research carried out at Harvard Medical School, Lown Cardiovascular Research Institute; and several Canadian medical colleges, it was concluded that irrespective of the gender, those suffering from an anxiety disorder were twice as likely to have a heart attack when compared to those anxiety disorders history.
Chronic anxiety especially generalized anxiety disorders often lead to constant worrying, depression, and stress.When is body is stressed for an extended period, it releases a hormone called cortisol which is linked to causing a heart attack. Anxiety disorder is also related to the low level of omega-3- fatty acid which helps in fighting cardiovascular diseases.
Anxiety can also cause tachycardia, hypertension, and decreased heart rate viability.
Difference Between Panic Attack and Heart Attack
They have a lot of similar symptoms and can both start with as chest pain, don’t try to differentiate it on your own, when you have a sudden chest pain, visit the nearest doctor. It can be distinguished by the presence of cardiac muscle enzymes found in a blood test in a heart attack patient and not in an anxiety disorder patient.
What is the Difference Between Heart Palpitations and Chest Pain from Anxiety and a Heart Attack?
The chest pain in anxiety is usually sharp and localized to a particular area, far away, or a little close to the center of the chest and lasts for less than 3-5 minutes. While chest pain in heart attack is duller, present in the center of the chest or might radiate to the arm, jaw, or back and lasts for up to 10 minutes or more and feels like the heart is crushed.
What Types of Heart Disease Can Be Affected by Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders have been linked to causing coronary heart disease which is a disease affecting the blood vessels of the heart.
Is Anxiety Curable?
There are various forms of treatment for anxiety which includes:
- Cognitive and behavioral therapy: this involves helping the individuals to understand the trigger or cause of the anxiety and learn better ways to manage Cognitive Therapy can be used to Relieve Anxiety, Prevent Chest Pains and Shortness of Breath
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy: this involves treating the anxiety with psychotherapy
- Drug therapy: Anxiety can be treated with a various group of medications such as anti-anxiety drugs such as clonazepam. Anti-depressants such as sertraline, and beta-blockers.
It can be treated, so this famous question, which is can anxiety medications cure anxiety symptoms and protect the heart? Is yes, it can be cured, and the heart is protected.
Fear, anxiety, are normal emotions for human beings, however, when this happens too often and coupled with chest pain or other symptoms, visit the nearest doctor or cardiologist near you.
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