Anxiety

Anxiety

Mental disorders have been stigmatized in society because many people have either been uninformed or misinformed about mental health and lack the understanding to properly address these significant topics. To complicate matters, when mental health issues have been discussed by various news sources as traits possessed by some perpetrators of abhorrent crimes, the negative stigmatization regarding mental disorders has seemingly increased. It is vital to recognize that there are several people struggling with various mental disorders who contribute productively to society. Many aspects of mental health are not choices; people do not choose to feel helpless, confused, defeated, victimized, misunderstood, hopeless, lonely, or isolated. Rather, they tend to seek help, and it should be society’s responsibility to provide nonjudgmental and nonintrusive intervention. Anxiety disorders are a major component of mental health about which people need to be educated. Thankfully, artists have contributed to the education much needed by taking such action as openly discussing their struggles with anxiety, providing information so that those who are battling anxiety don’t feel alone, and creating artistic works which are focused on dealing with anxiety to increase understanding. Still, more education, understanding, empathy, and resources are needed. For more information regarding anxiety disorders, please refer to the question and answer section found below.

Looking around for a quick fix from feeling like my chest has been weighed down with a ton of bricks,
But I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for; my mind is weary, and my body is sore.
Can anybody help me through the pain I feel inside?
There is no place left to run, and there is no place left to hide.
Consumed by this fear, I feel like all hope is gone.
Thoughts rush to mind saying maybe I should end my life and be done;
Deep inside, I know that’s not the answer that I seek.
Oh, if only I could find a way to speak about the way I’m feeling and help others understand me.
I need to find a way to overcome; from this pain, I need to break free.
I feel disconnected from the world and so alone, like I need to fight this untamed beast on my own.
I don’t know who to trust, and I don’t know where to go;
I’m trapped in this body, and it’s swallowing me whole.

Suggested Songs

  • Am I Going Crazy – Korn
  • Animal I Have Become – Three Days Grace
  • Anxiety – Bad Religion
  • Avalanche – Bring Me the Horizon
  • Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
  • Doubt – Twenty One Pilots
  • In My Blood – Shawn Mendes
  • Slow and Steady – Of Monsters and Men
  • Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots
  • The Art of Anesthesia – SayWeCanFly
  • The Right to Go Insane – Megadeth
  • Unwell – Matchbox Twenty
  • Zombie – Call Me Karizma

FAQs

What is anxiety, and how does it differ from anxiety disorders?

Anxiety is the natural tendency of the body to deal with what our minds perceive as threats. At times, we all experience some level of anxiety when confronting stressful situations, but our minds and bodies find ways to deal with the pressure by either confronting the obstacles that bring about the stress or escaping situations that trigger tension, and, soon, we return to a state of calmness. Yet, people who experience anxiety disorders often discover that situations of nervousness arise more frequently than those who do not have a disorder, and they develop apprehensive behavior due to feeling uneasy and fretful. Worrisome situations may either stem from actual problems or what the mind discerns as potential problems, but, either way, the symptoms that accompany anxiety for those who experience a disorder are often more severe than those who do not experience a disorder and may hinder them from accomplishing their daily activities.

Why is it important to seek help for anxiety disorders?

Due to the toll that anxiety can take on the physical body and mind, it is important to seek help. While some people may believe that anxiety will dissipate on its own, this is often not the case. In fact, people with anxiety disorder often discover that feelings of worry and fear often increase as time progresses. Avoiding tense situations or stimuli that can be perceived as threatening is not a quick remedy because the minds of most people experiencing anxiety disorder are still transfixed on the potential of the looming threat.

Who is affected by anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders are very common and affects millions of people ranging in ages from youth to seniors. They are not confounded by gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and level of education; in fact, a variety of people can experience anxiety disorders, and it may be very difficult to determine who is experiencing anxiety disorders as symptoms can vary significantly.

What causes anxiety disorders?

Although we know that people experiencing anxiety focus on situations that they perceive as threatening, there has been significant debate on what causes the inception of anxiety disorders. Researchers have considered genetics, biological and environmental factors, social occurrences, and learned behavior when trying to explain what could prompt the onset of these disorders. Yet, it is important to realize that anxiety is not experienced similarly by all who have these disorders and that anxiety can vary in type and severity per individual. Therefore, it is not easy to determine from where anxiety disorders originate, and, to complicate matters, it has been found that often what may have caused the onset of these disorders may differ significantly from what prolongs them.

What are the various forms of anxiety disorders?

Since not all anxiety disorders are the same, it is important to understand how they differ and to what degree. As anxiety involves the apprehensive behaviors which are associated with it, one of the ways in which disorders can vary is by what type of factors seem to link to the behavior. If the behavior seems to arise for no apparent reason, then the anxiety may be considered spontaneous, and, if it happens at varying times, then it may be considered involuntary. On the contrary, if the factor that poses a perceived threat can be determined, then the anxiety may be referred to as situational, and if the person who experiences the anxiety is awaiting the arrival of the symptoms, then it is considered anticipatory. Other ways that anxiety disorders differ are by what extent they linger and by what degree they affect people from executing their daily functions. The symptoms of anxiety disorders can range from minimal to dramatic depending on the stage of the disorder. While some people experiencing anxiety disorders may not notice significant alterations to their lifestyle, others may suffer from severe impairment. When anxiety becomes so severe that it lingers for prolonged periods of time and causes people to feel a lack of control, then it is considered entrenched. While professional treatment for people experiencing severe levels of an anxiety disorder is critical, treatment should be sought even before the anxiety becomes entrenched.

What are some symptoms of anxiety disorders?

While there tends to be a general misconception that people who suffer from anxiety disorders may pass out easily, fainting is not a symptom associated with these disorders. In fact, rather than lowering blood pressure, which is often the case in fainting, anxiety disorders can produce symptoms of elevated blood pressure, increased heartbeat, and irregular breathing. People experiencing symptoms associated with anxiety often report feeling chest tightness as well as chills. Associated with stress, anxiety disorders can also produce feelings of restlessness, panic attacks, and muscle tension. Moreover, people suffering from anxiety disorders may also have complications with their digestive tracts and excretion systems. One of the critical needs is being able to determine whether anxiety or the physical symptoms occur first as it is not uncommon for such problems as heart conditions to result in feelings of nervousness that could be mistaken for anxiety disorders. A key that may help in determining if people are suffering from anxiety disorders or other physical ailments is how long the symptoms last; with anxiety disorders, the physical symptoms generally dissipate after a half-an-hour interval and, then, are replaced by feelings of tiredness. On the contrary, people experiencing heart conditions, often notice symptoms intensifying and being prolonged. In any case, when people are experiencing such problems as chest pain, it is advisable to seek medical attention. It is also important to keep in mind that symptoms, just as anxiety disorders, can vary. For example, people suffering from GAD may, in addition to the aforementioned symptoms, experience difficulties focusing, become quickly frightened, or be often depressed. Whatever the type of anxiety disorder being battled, it is imperative that the severity of the symptoms not be discounted. Physical symptoms are not merely in the imagination of those suffering from anxiety disorders; they are real and need proper attention to prevent long-term deterioration in health.

What is GAD?

GAD stands for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and, as the name suggests, it is considered perpetual worrying about common things which can be encountered on a daily basis often without any reason. GAD can even involve excessive nervousness about such thoughts as making it through the day. It is diagnosed after sufferers have experienced at least six months of extreme fretfulness.

What are some other types of anxiety disorders?

While GAD is the most common form of anxiety disorder among adults, many other forms of anxiety disorders also exist, including social anxiety disorder, in which people are fretful of interaction and of being judged; panic disorder, in which repetitive attacks of irrational fear occur without warning; obsessive compulsive disorder, in which people become entangled in cycles of obsessive behavior; posttraumatic stress disorder, in which people develop nervous tendencies often as a result of experiencing or witnessing traumatic events, including near-death occurrences; and a vast array of phobias, which may be triggered by specific fears.

Are anxiety disorders treatable?

While some may argue that anxiety disorders are not fully treatable, there are several measures that can be taken to lessen the apprehensive behavior and alleviate the severity of the symptoms. The most common treatments sought are medication and therapy. Additionally, assertiveness training techniques, which reformat behavior and aid those suffering from anxiety disorders in becoming empowered to face and deal with their fears appropriately, may be learned. Moreover, exercise, aromatherapy, and massage may help reduce tenseness.

Why are some people who suffer from anxiety disorders reluctant to obtain help?

Some people who suffer from anxiety disorders may not seek help because they may think that there is no cure for what they are experiencing or they may think that the anxiety will dispel by itself. Others may recognize that they need help, but they may fear being judged, and they may not know who to trust. Nevertheless, it is imperative that those suffering from anxiety disorders understand how to address their fears and nervousness and learn how to redirect their thinking and behavior in ways that produce constructive results. Without proper treatment, people experiencing anxiety disorders may grow accustomed to their fearful thinking and a style of living which accommodates their nervousness, but, because their worry is not dealt with appropriately, there are significant possibilities that the distress caused by their disorders may take a detrimental toll on not only their psychological but also physiological health.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking medication as a treatment?

Although, in severe cases of anxiety disorders, medication will often be prescribed as a means of treatment, there is significant debate as to whether medication should be used to treat anxiety. The main benefit of medication is that it may be able to bring severe cases of anxiety disorders under control so that the thoughts and behaviors associated with the disorders can be dealt with properly. As a short-term relief, medication may be effective. Yet, opponents argue that there is potential for medication to become addictive as it affects the levels of neurotransmitters within the body, and people taking medication, in order to lessen the symptoms associated with their anxiety disorders, may become dependent on the prescribed substances to feel as if they can cope with their anxiety. This can be extremely dangerous as medication cannot directly address the factors contributing to the anxiety, nor does it direct those who are struggling on how to face their fears or learn appropriate behavior to cope. By evading situations that bring about feelings of fretfulness, there is an increased likelihood that anticipatory anxiety can intensify as people experiencing anxiety disorders keep awaiting the onset of the symptoms rather than learning how to alleviate the symptoms by dealing directly with the anxiety.

What is CBT, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of CBT?

While it may seem sensible to remove those who suffer from anxiety disorders away from any known source of anxiety, it is generally not advocated by those administering treatment. Rather, as there is potential that situations being feared could happen, it is advisable that those who have developed nervous tendencies learn how to deal with the source of their worry. CBT, also known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, equips people who suffer from anxiety disorders with coping techniques and managing skills that are long-lasting and can prove beneficial when fears resurface. By assisting those experiencing anxiety disorders to sift through their thoughts, analyze their expectations, and learn constructive behavior that is not apprehensive, many therapists purport that CBT has the power to change the chemistry of the brain. However, as CBT is a learning process, it requires a significant amount of effort both within and without the therapy sessions, which generally can extend to anywhere from 8 to 15 weeks, depending on the progress made. People depending on CBT to help them confront their struggles must be committed to taking the information with which they are instructed in the weekly sessions and putting it into practice the remainder of the week, but, for those who possess the willingness and dedication, the rewards can be substantial.

What should people do if they know others who are suffering from anxiety disorders?

First, it is crucial that people not discredit any thoughts or feelings that are being conveyed from those suffering with anxiety disorders. Rather, they should encourage those who are suffering to share with them how they are feeling; listeners should establish themselves to be trustworthy and nonjudgmental. Support teams are key in helping those experiencing anxiety disorders to realize that they are not alone and that they have reason to be optimistic that situations will improve with the appropriate treatment. Additionally, it is important to provide comfort to those suffering from anxiety disorders as physical symptoms manifest. People struggling with anxiety disorders are not to be incorrectly reassured that the anxiety will go away on its own but, rather, they are to be encouraged to have realistic expectations and to know that hope is possible if they seek the guidance of medical professionals. Help is available, but those suffering need to be made aware of what resources they can seek. NIMH, also known as the National Institute of Mental Health, can be a valuable asset in determining what resources are available. Moreover, even after medical attention is sought, it is vital to continue demonstrating care and concern for those who are experiencing anxiety disorders by checking up on them, motivating them to develop and maintain healthy practices that may be able to help reduce the severity of the symptoms experienced, and offering a listening ear when needed.

How can music serve a significant role in helping people with anxiety disorders?

There are many ways that music can help people who are struggling with anxiety disorders. Music can be stress-relieving, comforting, and supportive. It also has the power to be healing. When we experience anxiety, our bodies have mechanisms to cope with the stress presented. Yet, for people with anxiety, the stress mechanisms are engaged more often within the bodies and may eventually develop difficulties shutting off. While each body is different, there are repercussions that all bodies encounter if permitted to stay in a perpetual state of stress. For example, as stress hormones are released into the bloodstream often, complications, such as the ability to combat illnesses, may arise. Researchers have discovered that, through such characteristics as its ability to soothe, listening to music has the potential to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with anxiety and lower the stress hormone, cortisol, within bodies. Thus, many people have turned to music to help them through their fears and worries. Moreover, music can be beneficial as it helps those suffering with anxiety disorders to realize that they are not alone and to relate to many artists who have shared their encounters with anxiety through their lyrics.