Everyone has experienced some level of anxiety from time to time, and it is completely normal. It’s your body’s way of preparing for the fight-or-flight response. According to scientists, there was a time in our distant past when we were just as likely to be the prey as we were to be the predator. When faced with dangerous situations, the body’s natural reaction is to control the release of chemicals (endorfins) to give us a burst of speed and strength as needed for defense or escape. Today’s modern anxiety disorder has its roots in this ancient struggle.
While such a response may have been necessary early in our development, the truth is that we’re no longer chased by hostile cavemen or angry saber-toothed tigers. Yes, we can still face situations where our mental health may be in danger; the fight-or-flight response makes perfect sense under such conditions. However, we can also reproduce the same response when faced with things that won’t harm us at all.
And, that’s what anxiety is.
Most people experience anxiety when flying for the first time, speaking publicly, or while proposing marriage. Again, being anxious in these situations is normal. People with anxiety disorders are usually more involved in such events. They not only get anxious before events like those mentioned, but they can also get anxious about things that may never even happen. For example, if they are out for a walk, they may worry about getting hit by a car, even though the streets are empty. That may sound extreme to most people, but anyone that suffers from the condition can relate to such a situation.
The symptoms of an anxiety disorder are quite varied, and range in their intensity. Here are a few of the more typical symptoms:
shortness of breath,
stomach pain, nausea and anxiety
pain in the chest,
and feeling shaky.
These symptoms can of course be signs of other problems. That’s one reason why many people are unaware they have anxiety. For example, people may think they ate something that disagreed with them or suffer some degree of heartburn when, in reality it’s anxiety.
Anxiety is usually treated with medication, therapy, or both. People with mild anxiety may not need any medication at all if they are able to learn techniques for coping with their behavior. These can include desensitizing, learning how to identify the onset of anxiety, interrupting the thought process, and then refocusing those thoughts in a more positive manner.
Medication may be prescribed if therapy doesn’t work on its own, or if it’s an extreme case of. There are several anxiety medications available, but it may take some trial and error before the right one is diagnosed with the correct dosage.
The main thing is to realize that an anxiety disorder is a treatable condition. It’s simply a matter of receiving the right diagnosis and then finding the treatment options that work best for you.