What is Anxiety Disorder, causes, and treatment ?
What is Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a set of psychological disorders that can be caused by stress and by various triggers, at different stages of life. Anxiety disorders are divided into several distinct disorders, including:
- Social phobia (fear of speaking or eating in public, for example)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Generalized anxiety (constant worries about oneself or loved ones)
- Phobia with a specific focus (airplanes, snakes, etc.)
- Panic disorder (fear of dying)
- Agoraphobia (fear of being in public places)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (after an accident, etc.)
Causes of Anxiety Disorder
Several factors can lead to the development of an anxiety disorder. These factors are different depending on the person and their combination also leads to symptoms specific to each person. These factors include:
Personality traits: low self-esteem, low adaptability.
In the brain, there is a chemical imbalance.
- Trauma (recent or old)
- Environmental factors (poverty, conflicts, etc.)
- Instinctive factors (for example, panic fear of an animal like spiders)
- Certain respiratory diseases (low oxygen supply)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and stimulant drugs (including medications, caffeine)
Withdrawal from the above drugs
is Anxiety disorder affects a wide range of people?
It is estimated that approximately 12% of Canadians are affected by an anxiety disorder. Although anyone can suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point, statistics show that:
Women are more often affected than men, in a ratio of 2 to 1. People over the age of 65 are most often hospitalized for anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in children.
There is no contagion.
Anxiety disorder’s key signs and symptoms
- Symptoms of anxiety disorder vary depending on the specific disorder(s) the person has. Among the most common are:
- heart palpitations
- high blood pressure
- Chest pain
- The feeling that we are going to suffocate
- Profuse sweating
- Chills or hot flashes
- Numbness or tingling in the limbs (fingers, feet)
- Sleeping troubles
- Agitation or over-excitement
- Diagnosis and treatment
When an anxiety disorder is suspected, your doctor should be consulted. After testing you to make sure there is no other illness with symptoms resembling the anxiety disorder (anemia, thyroid gland problem).
The doctor will discuss appropriate treatment with you. Depending on the situation, it may involve cognitive-behavioral therapy (individual or in small groups), taking medication, or most often a combination of the two.
When the disorder is treated seriously in the manner prescribed by the attending physician, the results are usually very positive and the patient can see a noticeable improvement in physical and psychological symptoms.
However, when anxiety disorders persist over long periods, the person may develop depression.
Anxiety disorder prevention
Combined with the treatment prescribed by a health professional, a healthy lifestyle can greatly help reduce anxiety disorder:
- Eat healthily
- Reduce consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine
- Avoid drugs
- To exercise
- Sleep well
- Manage your stress in the way that seems most appropriate to you (meditation, yoga, etc.)
- Express one’s feelings.
The information on this sheet is offered to you solely for the purpose of allowing you to ask your doctor well-informed questions. They cannot, under any circumstances, take the place of medical counsel. Our team of editors and experts goes to great lengths to ensure that you receive accurate information.We would like to remind you that if you suspect you are suffering from a health concern, you should seek medical advice immediately.