An emotional turmoil, feeling uneasy, fearing the worst with context to the future, worrying, sweating, pacing hallways, feeling your heartbeat so fast that it might burst: these are the common things that people experience, known as ‘anxiety.’
“Anxiety is a general feeling of apprehension about possible future dangers, whereas fear is an alarm that occurs in response to immediate danger. This disorder creates clinically significant fear or anxiety which impacts personal, economic, and health care problems for those affected.”
Types of Anxiety Disorders:
The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) has five recognized anxiety disorders:-
Excessive or unreasonable fear of a situation, thing, or event. E.g. – fear of animals (dogs), fear of heights, etc.
Disabling fear of one or more social situations, and fear of negative social evaluation or embarrassment. E.g. – fear of public speaking, fear of going in crowds, etc.
The occurrence of unexpected/out of the blue panic attacks. E.g. – Feeling like the world is ending, shortness of breath, uncontrollable crying, etc.
Fear of common situations like standing in lines or crowded places, owns body sensations, avoidance of activities that cause arousal. E.g. – avoidance of malls and other crowded places, avoidance of engaging in sexual activity, etc.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Anxiety and worry about different aspects of life including minor events become chronic, excessive, and uncontrollable. E.g. – Failing to live in the present and escaping the illusionary world, thoughts, and images, etc.
Distinguishing Existential anxiety with Neurotic anxiety is essential. With any change or entering an unfamiliar situation, there comes anxiety which is referred to as, existential anxiety, or non-neurotic anxiety. Besides being a diagnosable mental disorder, it is an emotion that most of us feel at some point in our lives; to varying degrees. Understanding that feeling to an extent is normal and part of the existing is also very important.
Anxiety not only drains the person’s mind, or the body, but the body and mind in whole.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-V) has different criteria of symptoms required for the diagnosis of different anxiety disorders. Ignoring or dismissing symptoms as insignificant only increases the damage and can be fatal.
People often experience the following symptoms:
- Behavioral: Avoidance of situations that provoke anxiety, restlessness, hyper-vigilance, and irritability.
- Cognitive: Lack of concentration, racing or unwanted thoughts, excessive fear and worry, obsessive thinking.
- Physical: Fatigue, chest pain, changes in sleep patterns (insomnia/hypersomnia), changes in appetite (overeating/underrating), nausea, breathing problems.
The treatment involves medications in a combination with therapy, depending on the intensity of the disorder.
Effective therapies are mentioned below:-
- Specific phobia: Exposure therapy, Participant modeling.
- Social phobia: Cognitive restructuring, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT).
- Panic Disorder: Introspective exposure.
- Agoraphobia: Panic Control Treatment (PCT).
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Read also: ECLECTIC APPROACH TO THERAPY:
Coping with Existential Anxiety
Trying to work on it is the first step in coping with it. Here are some effective ways to manage your anxiety:
- Counter your apprehensions, whenever negative thoughts cloud your mind counter them with positive and more rational thoughts.
- Pour the thoughts out/express, writing what you feel down is an excellent way of unburdening your mind.
- Focus on your bodily functions, deep breathing can calm the mind down while fighting the physical symptoms such as breathlessness.
- Communication, talk to the people you love, interacting with close one’s releases chemicals that are related with feeling good.
- Nature, the fresh air helps in calming the mind down. Mountains, lakes, trees all have their ways of healing; indulge in them.
- Lastly, do not fear your fears, have faith in yourself, you can go through it, manage it, or cope with it, and you are not alone. Times get tough; we face different circumstances every day. But we as humans are capable of adapting, like we have been through the evolution.
Living in a Pandemic
In the current scenario, with an ongoing epidemic and trauma that comes with it, lifestyle changes, the lockdown: anxiety is affecting people on a large scale.
The sudden disruption of daily activities like going out, working, meeting friends, attending classes, is traumatic for individuals. At the same time, staying indoors for such long extents of time is taking a toll on mental health. It affects their mood, motivation, resilience, rationality, responses, and belief
Get the best anxiety treatment in India at Psychowellness Center. Book a session now.