More than one in 10 people are likely to have a disabling ‘anxiety disorder’ at some stage in their life, and an estimated 13 percent of people will develop some form of anxiety-inducing phobia.
Of course, there’s no denying that fear is a healthy emotion that serves many vital roles. It helps us understand and avoid danger, make calculated risks and reduce harm to ourselves. However, when worry persists or the feeling of panic becomes a regular occurrence, it can be destructive and paralysing.
From struggling to attend a simple business meeting to failing to go to your weekly spin class, anxiety can inhibit our livelihoods.
Oftentimes, anxiety-related disorders and their symptoms are ignored, pushed aside or numbed for a long time before a person decides to seek help. And when a person does look for help, the social stigma attached to these conditions can demoralise sufferers, leaving far too many people to travel alone and in silence.
When it comes to anxiety-related disorders, the degree of severity, experience, signs and symptoms differ from person to person. But one thing is the same: they all have a negative effect on one’s ability to function and experience pleasure in life.
Anxiety is best described as an intense feeling of panic, dread or fear combined with varying degrees of obsessive thought patterns (e.g. worrying), which hinder a person’s ability to enjoy life and function properly.
It causes extreme self-consciousness, self-doubt and often mentally and physically drains a person, causing things like low mood, irritability and irrational thinking.
In almost all cases, anxiety-related disorders are caused by a general worry about the future. Our minds like certainty, and consequently, we dedicate a portion of our thinking to predicting future outcomes so that we can mitigate danger and disaster.
However, we often can’t control the future, and when we over-analyse, over-think and spend too much time trying to navigate events that are yet to happen in the future, we limit ourselves in the present.
Anxiety-related disorders can be tricky to define.
The line from ‘anxious’ to ‘not anxious’ can often be subtle and blurred. For example, what one person finds enjoyable, another might find it triggers feelings of anxiety.
To understand what causes anxiety-related disorders, we can examine a person’s circumstance to understand the ‘why’ of their anxiousness. Oftentimes, these disorders are the consequence of things like:
To understand what is causing your anxiety-related disorder, we advise speaking with an expert who can talk with you to understand why you feel the way you do and offer help.
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The symptoms of an anxiety disorder are numerous, and it’s difficult to define a set list of symptoms because anxiety is unique to each person and their circumstance.
One person might feel fatigued, while another feels highly energised and irritable.
With this said, however, there are some sure-fire symptoms to look out for. They may include:
However, these symptoms often happen to all of us at some stage in our lives. Everybody can feel restless, paranoid and experience an increased heart rate. To deem symptoms ‘a disorder’, then, they must be irrational, excessive and persistent.
It’s about monitoring symptoms over time to identify and understand a change within one’s self, rather than reacting to in-the-moment symptoms that might naturally pass with time.
There are many things a person can do to reduce their feelings of anxiousness. Anxiety-related disorders often stem from situational circumstances, so a good starting point to reduce anxiety might be to change the environment around you. Other things a person can do to reduce anxiousness include:
However, these things can sometimes be a short-term fix for a long-term and persistent problem.
Often, to reduce anxiety-related disorders, it requires professional help so that a person can receive tried, tested and effective treatment to alter their entire livelihood, not just their external environment.
There are many different ways we treat anxiety-related disorders, all of which can be catered towards individual needs and goals.
Our team of experts can also take a preventative approach and use holistic and wellness treatment to help reduce feelings of anxiousness and encourage a feeling of grounded calmness instead.
This might include yoga, energy work, acupuncture and meditation.
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