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Anxiety is pretty common as many people in the world suffer from it. It shows up when a person becomes afraid of upcoming events and gets stressed. People with anxiety anticipate situations and worry about the possible consequences.
There is a difference between general feelings of nervousness or being anxious as it includes excessive levels of fear and anxiousness.
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders impact about 30% of adults at some point in their life. The intensity of the disorder varies with people. Feeling a little anxious is normal and instead of interfering with life, it motivates a person to perform better.
In extreme cases, it can make it impossible to do even simple daily tasks such as getting into an elevator or starting a conversation with people. An anxiety disorder can affect a person at any age.
Anxiety Disorders and Their Types
Anxiety shows up in a variety of forms. Having a basic understanding of the disorders makes it easier to diagnose and handle them before they take over one’s life. Some of the common types of disorders are:
Generalized anxiety disorder
It involves excessive and persistent worrying that becomes a hurdle in carrying out daily activities. The ongoing tension and anxiety can also be accompanied by physical symptoms like fatigue, concentration issues, restless sleep, muscle tension, and feeling on edge. The disorder makes it hard to focus on daily life activities.
In panic disorder, an individual suffers from panic attacks, including excessive psychological and physical distress. While suffering from panic attacks, people experience a lot of serious symptoms such as:
- Rapid heart rate or palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Smothering sensation
- Pain in the chest
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Choking feeling
- Hot flashes and chills
- Abdominal pains or nausea
- Feelings of detachment
- Fear of death and losing control
They are mostly a response to unexpected or out-of-the-ordinary occurrences. Generally, a panic disorder appears between the ages of 20 to 24. They can also occur with other mental disorders like PTSD and depression.
A specific phobia refers to the persistence of excessive fear of an activity, situation, or object. In this instance, people develop a fear of things that are generally not harmful to them. A person suffering from this phobia is mostly aware of the irrationality of fear but has trouble overcoming it.
It’s the fear of situations where escape seems difficult. People with this phobia are afraid of embarrassing situations where help is unlikely to appear. The fear grows with time and can last for six months and even more. The continuance fear can hurt day-to-day functioning. The fear can surface in the most mundane situations such as:
- Going on public transport
- Being in open spaces or enclosed spaces
- Waiting in line or standing in the crowd
- Being alone outside the house
Individuals with agoraphobia try to avoid situations that can trigger their phobia which makes life hard for them. They need a companion to get through their day or their anxiety can become extreme. Agoraphobia is only diagnosed when it becomes too intense and starts interfering with daily activities.
Social anxiety disorder
People suffering from this disorder find it hard to handle social interactions. They have fear of being embarrassed or humiliated in social situations. They are afraid of being overlooked or rejected during social interactions.
Separation anxiety disorder
People with this disorder have an extreme fear of separating from the people they are attached to. The feeling of attachment is inappropriate because it’s more like an obsession and can lead to serious problems in daily life. They want to spend all their time with the person they are attached to and the thought of separation can cause distress and even lead to nightmares.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Every individual’s experience with anxiety is different. Some people may feel butterflies in their stomachs or experience a racing heart. Some individuals feel as if there is a lack of connection between their mind and body.
In extreme cases, people can suffer from nightmares, panic attacks, and reliving painful memories and experiences.
Some common anxiety symptoms are:
- Concentration issues
- Elevated heart rate
- Hard time falling asleep
- Having trouble resting
It’s essential to know all the different ways anxiety can present itself because the symptoms can vary from person to person.
Defining an Anxiety Attack
Anxiety attacks are not pleasant at all. It’s an overwhelming feeling of fear, distress, apprehension, and worry. For many individuals, the anxiety attack builds slowly and becomes worse with the approach of stressful events.
An anxiety attack has versatile symptoms and they change with time as well. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Dizziness and fainting
- Difficulty breathing
- Dry mouth
- Hot flashes and chills
- Sweating and restlessness
- Tingling and numbness
- Fear and distress
Causes of anxiety
Anxiety is still a mystery and researchers are working hard to find a solid cause for it. A lot of people in the world suffer from it and the reasons vary so much that it’s hard to choose one cause. Researchers also believe that anxiety can affect the part of the brain that controls fear.
Diagnosing anxiety is challenging because of the lack of physical evidence. The diagnosing process includes a physical examination as it helps in ruling out physical illnesses.
It allows the doctor to rule out possible physical illnesses and focus on mental health. Many people suffering from anxiety do not get any help because they fail to realize they are suffering from an illness.
Many tests can help in determining whether you are suffering from anxiety or not. You can visit our website and take reliable tests to figure out if you have anxiety or not. Our tests are reliable, quick, and approachable.
An anxiety test mostly consists of a self-assessment questionnaire. It helps decide if you require clinical assessment or not. The questionnaire is the first step to acknowledging the problem and taking further steps to handle the problem.
Some of the common anxiety tests used by doctors to assess the level of anxiety are:
Zung self-rating anxiety scale
There is a 20-item questionnaire in the Zung test. The questions are about rating the level of anxiety in different situations. The questions focus on the following subjects:
- Rate of heartbeat
- Frequent urination
After completing the test, a trained professional can assess the response and give the verdict.
Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)
BAI is a test used for calculating the intensity of one’s anxiety level. An individual can consult a professional or paraprofessional and ask them to conduct the test orally.
The test consists of 21 multiple-choice questions. The questions ask about the rate of an individual’s experience of symptoms in a week. Some common symptoms include numbness, fear, and tingling.
Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A)
Hamilton test was developed in 1959 and was the first test for rating level of anxiety. It’s a preferred choice for clinical use and research purposes. Fourteen questions are designed to rate tension, fears, and moods. The questions are also about mental, behavioral, and physical traits. It’s recommended to ask a professional to administer the test.
Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN)
The level of social phobia is measured in this test through a 17-question self-assessment. Anxiety in a person in different situations is rated on a scale of zero to four. If the score is zero, it means there is no anxiety while four indicates extreme anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder scale
The test has seven questions that help identify anxiety disorder. The question asks how often a person has been bothered by feelings of fear, irritability, and nervousness. The answers offer valuable information regarding the anxiety level of a person.
Penn State worry questionnaire
It is a widely used test to get a measure of worry. It differentiates generalized anxiety disorder from a social anxiety disorder. The test has 16 questions to measure the uncontrollability, generality, and excessiveness of one’s worry.
Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS)
YBOCS is a test designed for measuring the level of OCD in an individual. The test is conducted as a one-on-one interview and the interview is conducted by a professional. A symptom checklist and the person taking the test can choose three symptoms that they find most disturbing and rate their severity. The questions also ask about possible compulsions or obsessions. The answers are used by a professional to give a verdict about OCD. The professionals grade the OCD level as moderate, subclinical, severe, extreme, or mild.
Treatment for Anxiety
If a person is diagnosed with anxiety they must focus on managing it rather than ending it. Learning ways to control anxiety helps live a content and happy life. Choosing treatment prevents the symptoms from escalating and becoming more problematic.
Anxiety is sometimes treated with medication, especially in children. Another option for treating anxiety is through therapy. Talking about and sharing one’s worries with a professional is an effective way of managing the level of worry.
Anxiety can have a huge impact on an individual’s life. If a person feels that their anxiety level is interfering with their life they should take an anxiety test and get a diagnosis so that they can acknowledge the problem and work towards treatment.