From time to time, everyone worries about health and loved ones, about work and about the future. Worry helps you anticipate and avoid a threat. The problem arises when the anxiety becomes so strong that it makes you fear the state itself. Restless thoughts are followed by physical symptoms of stress and behavioral changes.
In 2018, nearly 6 million Russians experienced anxiety beyond the norm. The women were more alarming. It is unlikely that the statistics for 2020 will be more rosy.
What is considered an anxiety disorder?
There are several types of this disease:
- generalized anxiety disorder;
- panic attacks;
- social anxiety disorder;
- phobias, among which agoraphobia is separately noted.
What-If: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with GAD foresee a catastrophe in everything: the world will die from COVID, the child will be stolen on the way to school, there will not be enough money for food, and a loved one will certainly leave. Worries can be about real facts or be causeless. The baby came back whole, got married, invented a vaccine? A good outcome will only cause a new wave of anxiety.
A person can be aware that he is worried more than necessary, but cannot pull himself together. GAD markers include a premonition of danger or death, irritability, sweating and shivering, rapid breathing, sleep and digestion problems, fatigue, and inability to concentrate. If this condition continues for more than six months and is accompanied by at least three of the described symptoms, a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder is made.
"Die and Going Mad": Panic Attacks
A person with a panic attack physically experiences an anxiety attack. He not only expects the worst, he “dies” here and now for no apparent reason. The heart jumps out of the chest and hurts, a lump in the throat interferes with breathing, throws in sweat, the head is spinning so that you can literally fall. The intensity of the physical sensations distinguishes panic attacks from other disorders. Between attacks it would be possible to live well, only the expectation of a repetition makes one freeze with fear. We have written in detail about panic attacks here.
"They don't like me": social anxiety disorder
At first glance, a social phobia can be easily confused with an introvert. He does not like to speak in public, once again he will not ask the question out loud, with all his might avoids new acquaintances and public events. Only at the heart of such behavior is the fear of being condemned and rejected, and not a calm preference for loneliness over the crowd.
This is not the same as embarrassment, although shy people are more prone to social anxiety. Isolation can interfere with your career, school, and personal life. The person is unable to cope with the expectation of criticism and begins to worry long before the planned meeting. Fear of the public is often accompanied by nausea and sweating.
"Not this": phobias
A phobia is an irrational fear or disgust at anything. You can be terrified of insects and germs, cars and flights, bridges and elevators, vomit and blood. People with phobias understand the groundlessness of fear, but even thinking about it leads to intense anxiety.
Fear can trigger a panic attack or simply limit a person's options. A vivid example is agoraphobia, or fear of open spaces. Agoraphobe refuses to leave the house alone and be in the crowd, afraid of new places and public transport.
The line between ordinary worry and anxiety disorder is how much anxiety affects your life. How often do thoughts of the future cause physical nausea? Worrying about a new itinerary makes you want to give up travel? And the fear of blood - from visiting the doctor?
If anxiety has regularly forced you to change plans and behavior over the past six months, this is a red flag. It is likely that psychotherapy, anti-anxiety and antidepressants can restore your confidence and zest for life.