4 February 2014
Imagine this, as you walk around the grocery store and precede to shop, suddenly your entire body feels frozen, your chest begins to hurt, you feel as though you cannot breathe. You have an overwhelming feeling of terror for absolutely no reason. Everyone is staring, wondering what is wrong with you, until you finally pull yourself together. Doesn’t sound very appealing now does it? Imagine having to live your day to day life not knowing when or if this was going to happen to you, or even why it happens to you. Panic attacks are very common symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. Upon my research I have found what can cause an anxiety disorder, how to treat it and what the different types of anxiety disorders are.
What is an anxiety disorder you may wonder? An anxiety disorder is a mental disorder in which severe anxiety is a symptom. To experience anxiety is to have the feeling of constant worry or unease. There is a difference in experiencing anxiety and having an anciety disorder. Many people experience anxiety in everyday life, for example, when facing problems at work or before taking a big test you may have a feeling of worry or you may feel nervous. This is normal for most people, but if you begin to feel uneasy all the time while performing simple tasks such as going to the store or talking to someone over the phone it may be more serious than you think.
Many factors can cause someone to have an anxiety disorder. Different medical conditions such as migraines or sleep apnea can lead to having an anxiety disorder, as well as diabetes or thyroid problems (Annals of Internal Medicine). Depression is also likely to cause someone who has never experience anxiety before to develop a severe anxiety disorder. Another main cause of anxiety disorders is the use of illicit drugs (Annals of Internal Medicine). Cocaine is an illegal drug used recreationally that can cause severe anxiety in people who have never suffered from it. Cocaine is a stimulant, which causes neurotransmitters in the brain to become excited and creates life-threatening levels of anxiety. The use of cocaine has also been known to cause insomnia which in itself leads to anxiety disorders (Et Al Xiao-Min Yang). It is said that the use of illicit drugs in general leads to anxiety because of the lifestyle they bring, such as their addiction causing them to lose their homes, their jobs and even their families. All of these can cause an increase in anxiety and can become very severe. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, the most common ones being Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Et Al J Drost). People who suffer from Panic Disorder do not suffer from normal anxiety related to stressful situations in life; their condition is much more serious. Sudden attacks of fear and/or worry are common symptoms of this particular disorder. These attacks become so common in people suffering from panic disorder that they begin to develop a constant fear of having another attack, which, overall, leads to a panic attack. As you can imagine this leads to serious affects in day-to-day life and can keep an individual from leading a normal life. It has been found that many people with Panic Disorder have family members that have been diagnosed as well (LJ Strugg 166). Generalized Anxiety Disorder causes the individual to constantly worry about everyday happenings with extreme anxiety for no apparent reasoning at all (Annals of Internal Medicine 159). Many people diagnosed with GAD have a hard time not persistantly worrying life factors such as school, work, money or family. This causes the individual to suffer in ways that affect their functioning at work, school or in relationships. Common symptoms of this disorder include ongoing worry or tension, an...
Cited: Yang, Xiao-Min, et al. Anxiogenic effects of acute and chronic cocaine administration: neurochemical and behavioral studies . Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 41.3 (1992): 643-650.
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“What Causes OCD Compulsions?” CalmClinic: Help For Anxiety and Depressive Disorders
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