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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Anxiety - Signs and Symptoms

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress; usually as a result of threats and fear which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. Everyone will experience this sometime during their life, but the symptoms and signs are usually so mild that you may not even be aware you had an anxiety or panic attack.

When stress, problems and fearful situations continue for a longer period of time, the symptoms can get worse and the attacks more frequent. When anxiety has become a regular occurrence, it could have turned in to anxiety/panic disorder, also called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and it may prevent you from being able carrying out even the simplest, daily tasks.

Just the though of how to get through the day can already prompt an attack. Women are more likely to suffer from it then men, but all in all, this disorder affects 6.8 million adults which is 3.1% of the U.S. population.

The symptoms usually are displayed withing five to ten minutes and will ease off over the next thirty to sixty minutes. Physical signs and symptoms of anxiety are:
- Shortness of breath
- Palpitations
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Sweating
- Numbness and tingling
- Hot and cold flashes
- Abdominal discomfort and/or nausea
- Fatigue
- Headaches

Emotional symptoms are:
- Apprehension or dread
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling tense or jumpy
- Fear of dying, going crazy or losing control
- Feelings of depersonalization like being a robot or out of one's body
- De-realization; things look abnormal or unreal
- Anticipating the worst
- Irritability
- Restlessness
- Expecting and watching for signs of danger
- Feeling like the mind is gone blank
- Nightmares/bad dreams

It is mostly a psychological condition, but in rare cases, anxiety can be a sign of other health issues like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart failure, or heart arrhythmia.

There are several treatment options and tips to relieve your anxiety, which I will share in another post, but one thing you can already eliminate is the fear of having an attack. Anxiety is debilitating and physically very discomforting. The fear of getting an attack only prompts another attack. Try to be aware of that and eliminate that fear.

Another way of breaking the vicious cycle is trying to quit expecting the worst. Things are not always as bad as they seem or anticipated. Usually, when you fear or dread something, you make your fear and dread come true. Focus on good and pleasurable things. Count your blessings and rejoice in them, for God has given you many!

Job 3:25
For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.


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