What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal response to scary or uncertain things in life, but when it gets out of hand or you experience overwhelming levels of worry all the time, then you could have an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. Some experience butterflies in their stomachs, a racing heart, or hot face and clammy hands. Others experience excessive sweating, shortness of breath or muscle tension.
Anxiety disorders may be caused by a malfunctioning of the circuit in the brain that controls fear and emotions, as well as life events like loss, serious illness, violence or abuse that cause intense fear and worry.
Genetics and personality traits can also play a role in anxiety. Individuals who have a family history of the condition may be more prone to developing it themselves.
Environment and learned behaviors can also play a role. Growing up in an anxious or fearful home environment can cause kids to worry about their own lives and the world around them.
Treatment for anxiety aims to reduce and manage symptoms. Common treatments involve taking medication, visiting a mental health professional for counseling or advice, as well as learning new coping mechanisms.
A strong support network can be invaluable when managing symptoms associated with anxiety. It’s essential to reach out for assistance as soon as you notice any difficulties.
Doctors or other healthcare professionals will diagnose anxiety based on criteria in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). They may ask you questions about your symptoms, perform a physical exam and order lab tests to rule out other medical issues.