Anxiety Disorders: symptoms and solutions

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders. Anxiety is a fundamental and important emotion for survival.

However, when anxiety is experienced in objectively non-threatening situations, lasts too long, or is too intense, exceeding one’s coping abilities and limiting daily functioning, it becomes a serious health problem. Anxiety disorders require treatment!

Adaptive Disorder – job loss, the death of a loved one, or other life changes can trigger adaptive disorders. It is characterized by symptoms such as chronic anxiety, tension, mood swings, a sense of depression, sleep disturbances, or loss of appetite. People with this disorder may also experience difficulties in concentration, problems in social relationships, and changes in behavior, such as bursts of anger or isolating themselves.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD) is a condition where escaping constant anxiety is challenging. Individuals with GAD experience chronic worry, have difficulty relaxing, and are prone to catastrophizing thoughts, leading to excessive searching for solutions and increasing uncertainty. Somatic symptoms include muscle tension, rapid heart rate, and sleep disturbances. Unfortunately, many individuals with untreated GAD may develop episodes of depression.

Panic Disorder is represented by unexpected and intense panic episodes, accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms. Those with this disorder experience sudden panic attacks. Panic develops due to catastrophic interpretations of symptoms, such as “I’m having a heart attack,” “I’ll go crazy,” “I’ll faint,” or “I’m dying.” These thoughts intensify the primary symptoms, leading to anticipatory anxiety and avoidance of situations that may trigger another episode.

Social Phobia is a disorder characterized by intense fear in social situations, where neutral signals are perceived negatively. Attentional abnormalities focus on physiological signs of anxiety, such as blushing or trembling voice. People with this phobia avoid public speaking, speaking in groups, or eating in company, negatively impacting their daily functioning, potentially leading to difficulty leaving home and forming relationships.

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder with excessive, unfounded fear of specific situations, objects, or activities. Individuals with phobias often experience intense anxiety, avoiding situations related to their phobia, significantly affecting their daily life. Phobias can include various areas, such as enclosed spaces, animals, or flying.

Agoraphobia is characterized by an unwarranted fear of situations where escape or assistance is difficult, such as crowds, public places, or public transportation. People with agoraphobia often avoid these places due to fear of panic attacks, significantly limiting their ability to function daily.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms cause discomfort and disrupt daily functioning and relationships. Obsessions are intrusive thoughts, images, or impulses that appear uncontrollably, causing intense fear. The content of these thoughts is inconsistent with one’s self and values. Compulsions, repetitive behaviors or thoughts, aim to reduce the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts. They can take the form of repetitive actions or thoughts. People with OCD perform compulsions not for pleasure but as a compulsion to avoid terrible consequences.

Acute Stress Reaction (ASD) is a transient disorder resulting from psychological or physical trauma, such as sexual assault, sudden death, accidents, or life-threatening injuries. After a traumatic event, it is challenging to adapt to new conditions, triggering alarming signals from the body, such as increased heart rate, accelerated breathing, or sweating. Individuals with ASD feel disconnected from their bodies, perceive the surrounding world as unreal (like in a dream), experience helplessness, blame themselves for the event, have narrowed attention and awareness. ASD lasts for at least two days and either resolves within four weeks or develops into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, occurs after highly traumatic experiences. It manifests as recurring memories, nightmares, anxiety, and avoidance of trauma-related stimuli.

Hypochondria is characterized by excessive and anxious preoccupation with the possibility of illness or the development of a serious illness based on a mistaken interpretation of bodily sensations. Individuals with hypochondria believe they are suffering from an undiagnosed disease, fearing a specific diagnosis or developing various diseases over time, despite normal test results. The belief in being sick persists persistently.

If you think you may be experiencing any of the anxiety disorders mentioned above, consult with a psychiatrist for an assessment. Our specialists will help you identify the source of your anxiety and apply effective and modern treatment following the latest recommendations.

Excellent results in treating anxiety disorders can be achieved through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), sometimes the only solution recommended by a psychiatrist.

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