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Anxiety Disorders

Many people will feel anxious or worried at some point in their life such as just before a job interview or an exam etc.  However, some people have a long term condition where they feel anxious about a wide range of issues. Anxiety can occur along with other mental or physical illnesses. There are different types of anxiety disorder such as:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder - People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) go through the day filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke it. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety.

Panic Disorder - When the feelings of distress overwhelm you, you can experience a panic attack. A panic attack is an exaggeration of the body's normal response to fear, stress or excitement. It is the rapid build-up of overwhelming sensations, such as a pounding heartbeat, feeling faint, sweating, nausea, chest pains, breathing discomfort, feelings of losing control, shaky limbs and legs turning to jelly.

Phobias - A phobia is an intense, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Some of the more common specific phobias are centered around closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, dogs. People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that has involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. It can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.  People suffering from PTSD will try and avoid situations that remind them of the original incident.  Most people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in their thoughts during the day and in nightmares when they sleep. These are called flashbacks.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - People with  OCD have persistent, upsetting thoughts (obsessions) and use rituals (compulsions) to control the anxiety these thoughts produce. Most of the time, the rituals end up controlling them.  Common rituals are a need to repeatedly check things, touch things (especially in a particular sequence), or count things.

People often experience a range of symptoms when they feel anxious or stressed, which can interfere with your normal day-to-day activities.  These include such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Weakness in legs
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Hyperventilation (over breathing)
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wanting to use the toilet more often
  • Feeling sick
  • Tight band across the chest area
  • Tension headaches
  • Hot flushes
  • Increased perspiration
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Choking sensations
  • Palpitations

Getting Help
Medication will not cure anxiety disorders, but it can keep them under control while the person receives psychotherapy.  If you are worried that you have an anxiety disorder speak to your GP.

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