At times, we all have some level of anxiety in our lives. Some of us are able to work through it and move on until the next stressful or overwhelming situation occurs and others deal with those feelings and thoughts on a more regular basis, even when crisis or stressful occasions are not necessarily occurring. This is referred to as anxiety, which is a very common mental health problem. When we are in this state of mind, it is easy to think about the worst possible outcome.
Anxiety is intense feelings of being afraid, nervous, tense, or worried that are too strong for the situation, go on too long and get in the way of life.
There are several types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized anxiety, the most common - having extreme and constant worries about anything.
Separation Anxiety - extreme worry that something bad will happen if the child is separated from the parent.
Social Anxiety - extreme fear of being humiliated or rejected in social situations, difficult being in social groups.
Phobias - unrealistic and extreme fears of situations or things (e.g. flying, snakes, heights).
Anxiety can happen because of a combination of things; bad experiences, stress, chronic illness, family members who exhibit symptoms of anxiety that are learned or genetically passed down, or even chemicals in the brain that are not working like they should.
Signs or Symptoms of anxiety can include: pounding heart, outburst, trouble falling or staying asleep, sweating, nausea or stomach aches, trouble concentrating, jumpiness, trouble breathing.
Thoughts Associated with Anxiety: Thinking danger is everywhere, a situation or thing is dangerous when it is not. Worrying too much about bad things happening. Constant thoughts or images of bad things happening.
Behavior Associated with Anxiety: Avoiding situations, people, or things. Clinging to safe people or refusing to leave them. Repetitive rituals. Outbursts when faced with separation or feared situations.
The most important factors that need to be present for individuals who struggle with anxiety are stability and predictability. When stability and predictability are present, anxiety will decrease or can be non-existent. It is important for family members of those who struggle with anxiety to know these variables will help their loved one manage anxiety more effectively.
We all feel scared, anxious, or nervous sometimes, it is important to pay attention to when these feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are intense, go on way too long, and get in the way of living your daily life. The way anxiety is usually handled, is by avoiding those fears and worries. This approach works well in the moment because it lowers the anxiety right away, the problem is avoiding it never solves the problem. If these symptoms last too long, anxiety can manifest into depression due to the overwhelming emotions/thoughts that are not managed. It is important to seek out help for these symptoms before they reach the level of crisis.
Take a peek at this cute YouTube clip that demonstrates, Living with Anxiety.