Understanding Anxiety Disorder

It seems that most people nowadays are struggling with anxiety in some shape or form. Low levels of stress and anxiety are a part of most people’s lives. In turn, experiencing these feelings does not necessarily mean that you have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders occur when anxiety interferes with your daily life, halting your ability to function, and causing an immense amount of stress and fear. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. today. According to the organization’s report, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults over the age of 18, yet only one-third seek and receive treatment. Anxiety disorder types can include (but are not limited to):
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Constant, severe anxiety that interferes with day-to-day activities.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Unreasonable thoughts, fears and obsessions that lead to repetitive behaviors or compulsions
  • Panic Disorder: Characterized by frequent sudden attacks of terror, panic, and constant fearfulness.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: A disorder in which everyday interactions cause irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment.
I’ve dealt with some anxiety in my life as most people have, but it has not been severe to the point in which it would be classified as a mental illness. However in the middle of an anxiety attack somewhere on the spectrum of panic disorder, it did feel incredibly serious. But there are more than a few ways to combat the effects before they set in.  Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head. Eat well-balanced meals. Take deep breaths. Count to 10 slowly. Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get. Accept that you cannot control everything.      
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