According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older…” (ADAA, 2017). Anxiety, being a mental, emotional and physical disorder to your body, has many different impacts on the body. For example, a person can experience heartburn, nervousness, which is also known as butterflies, sweating, behavioral changes, insomnia, and the list goes on. People can often experience anxiety as a result of going through a rough time in your life, emotional, physical or spiritual stress in your life, being brought down by genetics, or as a side effect of another disorder, for example, pericarditis. Many people in the world may notice their anxiety every day, but a few people may not know they even have it. Anxiety is a rising topic in our world and has been found to be put in different categories for the different types of anxiety. Some examples include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, social anxiety, panic disorders, PTSD, phobias, etc. Many tests and research have found symptoms for anxiety, as well as many different courses of treatment, including conventional and pharmacotherapy options, for the disorder along the course of its’ existence in our society.
Anxiety is a disease that has affected over forty million people in the United States who are over the age of eighteen (Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 2017). With anxiety comes many signs and symptoms including heartburn, nervousness, stress, and irritability. These symptoms can be physiological or psychological, but in order to control them, we need to find a course of management including conventional treatments and pharmacotherapy treatments. Anxiety has been around for a long time worldwide, but many people either do not know they have it or do nothing to reduce the symptoms. When this situation occurs, it will prolong the symptoms and lead to more serious diseases like depression. Addressing the disease, understanding the signs and symptoms, and then creating a management plan for treating it will help to decrease the symptoms people in the United States have that are intertwined with this disease we call anxiety.
Common Diseases- What is Anxiety?
“Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure” (American Psychological Association (APA)). Anxiety is one of the most common psychological diseases amongst people in not just the United States, but the world as a whole too and most likely turns into a physiological disease because of the physical damage we see happening alongside with it. Anxiety takes a toll on your body, affecting our sleep patterns, relationships with our loved ones, what we eat everyday, and how we live our everyday life with work, school, etc. (WebMD). It can be considered a chronic illness leading to depression that leads your life down a very steep hill. Anxiety has been looked at many times, but the etiology remains a mystery. Researchers believe anxiety could be a result of a traumatic life experience or medical. Medical causes can include things like drug abuse, asthma, diabetes, tumors, heart disease, and many more (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Finding a way to cope with anxiety starts with finding the root cause of it from each individual. Everyone’s life experiences are different which means people obtain anxiety in many different ways, so we have to find the root cause for each individual, examine the symptoms they are experiencing, then move on to the coping mechanisms.
Signs, Symptoms, and Tests
With anxiety comes the many different signs and symptoms including rapid heart rate, butterflies in your stomach, insomnia, heart burn, and sweating (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes coming from genetics, puberty, a traumatic life event, or even just having the medical condition pop up out of nowhere. Anxiety is triggered by our flight or fight response, but it stays in a state of arousal with having feelings of depression, uncertainty, or fear (Simon,2013). Many of the tests and screening for anxiety include a self test you can take anywhere because it is online on many different websites. From this test you will read where you are at on the scale to reveal your level of anxiety. After evaluating the level of anxiety a person is dealing with, they can start to make a treatment plan based on their level. There are many ways to treat the different levels of anxiety including conventional treatments and pharmacotherapy treatments as well.
Course and Management for the Disorder/Disease
Anxiety, unlike some other diseases can be controlled and the symptoms can be reduced with the many therapeutic treatments available. One big conventional treatment we see most often is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy will allow a person to be in charge of their own mindset, allowing them to change their behavior patterns (Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)). There are many positive benefits that come out of this therapy, including changing your mindset to have a more positive outlook on life, improving self confidence and self esteem, and learning how to take what they learned to better their life. Another conventional treatment option we have seen to reduce the symptoms of anxiety is exposure therapy. This type of therapy will take an object or situation that you have feelings of fear with and slowly expose you to them (Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)). This form of treatment will allow you to have a safe place to conquer your fear that will lead to reduced symptoms of anxiety. There are some people who do not have the patience to go through the long process of cognitive behavioral therapy, so we also see the faster option of pharmacotherapy. A common form of pharmacotherapy includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These block the reabsorption of serotonin, allowing your mood to change in a more positive way (ADAA). Although some people prefer a quick fix, we do see many side effects with them. In this case the SSRIs can allow you to not be able to sleep at night, troubles with sexual dysfunction, and most often you will gain weight (ADAA). Compared to other drugs, SSRIs are considered to be one of the few without so many side effects. Another form of a pharmacotherapy treatment are benzodiazepines. In the past, these have been used for acute anxiety, but due to side effects, are not the leading treatment anymore (Bystritsky, Khalsa, Cameron, and Schiffman, 2013). Although some people still use this form of treatment, it is not recommended because of the possibility of having side effects such as fatality from mixing with other drugs, loss of memory, and trouble with a person’s coordination. These treatment forms provide a quick fix, but in the end create a bigger problem that could lead to depression, tiredness, and much more. The all create a chain reaction of the psychological stress manifestations that take place.
Anxiety is a disease that has affected many people not just in the United States, but the world as a whole. Understanding what anxiety means, the symptoms that come with it, for instance, nervousness, sweating, insomnia, and depression, and what a person can do to treat it can allow the numbers we see across the board to decrease. There are many different forms of treating anxiety that researchers have found including conventional forms of treatment, for instance, cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy forms of treatment like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). People around the world should be aware of the precautions they can take to understand if this disease is something they have or not and from there create a management plan to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and learn how to manage anxiety in general.
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