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What are Anxiety Disorders?

What are Anxiety Disorders?

Get Help through Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Disorders

To understand Anxiety Disorders, we must understand that anxiety is a perfectly natural and normal reaction. It is an emotional response felt as fear by humans and animals alike. So if you are suffering you are not abnormal. You are also not alone.

Anxiety has it’s place for a number of reasons. For example, it helps us run away from danger, keeps us alert and alive, and sharpens our attention so that we can meet a challenge. However, when the fear response is inappropriately triggered and is “out of control”, Anxiety can be a very real problem in any and every area of our lives.

As with many issues our practitioners routinely support people with such as Depression, Stress, and Anger, Anxiety does not have to rule people’s lives. It is not the events of life that necessarily bring about the perception of crises, rather the thoughts, which surround them. New habits can be formed within weeks, so too can our thought patterns, so why not reach out for some help in achieving this.

Irrational Fears can lead to Anxiety Disorders

Whenever fear is felt when it’s not required, then this is an irrational fear, and this can develop into an anxiety disorder. It can lead the sufferer to respond inappropriately to their environment, as they develop a fear of everyday things. We all need to learn fear. That’s how we get to know that a fire is hot, and putting your hand in it will be painful. But if we worry when there’s no real threat, to the point where we lose the cognitive ability to function normally, that’s an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety Triggers & Responses

The only thing that differentiates one anxiety sufferer from another is that their triggers and symptoms will vary. The trigger for some might be using public transport, whilst for others this could be driving the car. It doesn’t really matter what the trigger or the response looks like, what matters is that it can be helped with the right professional expertise.

Generalised or Specific Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders can be either generalized (for example panic disorder, social anxiety disorder) so that the sufferer remains on a generally high level of alert. This will affect most or all areas of the persons life.

An Anxiety Disorder can also be specific. Phobias fall into this category. An example might be an irrational fear of spiders, flying, or anything very specific, where the effects are not generally felt in other areas of the persons life. Here it is important to note that a specific phobia can also overspill into other areas of the sufferers life and thus become generalized with time, intensity and frequency.

Fear memories and the brain

The human brain stores fear memories differently to ordinary memory. They are effectively stored as an “emotional memory”, as opposed to rational or narrative memory. We don’t have the same direct control over emotional memories that we do over other memories. Amongst those who suffer from anxiety disorders, emotional memories appear to be more dominant than rational memory.

Unfortunately, emotional memory is pretty much permanent, whilst rational memory can be readily manipulated. However, emotional memory can be replaced by a more dominant non-emotional memory. This is an area where many Changes Welcome practitioners are very skilled at helping people to overcome their anxiety issues.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety DisordersThe physical symptoms of Anxiety Disorders can include feeling tense, on edge, breathless, increased heart rate, and sweating, to name a few. And in the case of full-blown panic attacks this can even include severe chest pains. Symptoms such as these invade the consciousness and become the main focus of thought. After an event is triggered, the nervous system stays alert for a while, hypersensitive to any further threat. This results in not being able to think straight and the brain loses perspective.
Anxiety Disorders share the same physical symptoms as a stress response and can manifest themselves a number of ways as mentioned above (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, and social anxiety disorder). The events and circumstances of life are cognitively misinterpreted, and the common denominator could perhaps best be described as irrational dread. Any differences between one sufferer and another are mostly just a matter of context.

Anxiety Disorder Traits

Someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) will tend to respond to normal situations as if they were life-threatening. GAD may be mild and manageable, but, for some people, it is debilitating. It can also cause and/or aggravate additional health problems, both physical and psychological. People with GAD often worry about the same problems everyone worries about – money, health, families, jobs, etc. The problem is, people with GAD worry excessively and constantly. People without GAD have the ability to put normal worries on hold and focus on daily activity. People with GAD are often distracted by their worries and find it difficult to think about anything else. Many people with GAD also feel constant anxiety with no apparent cause. They wake up feeling anxious and can never pinpoint a direct cause. The anxiety never seems to disappear throughout the day.

Sufferers of panic disorder seem perfectly calm much of the time, but are suddenly overcome by crippling fear and physical pain. It’s possible to have panic disorder without having generalized anxiety disorder and vice versa, but often panic disorder turns into generalized anxiety due to fear of the next attack.

Panic is the most intense form of anxiety, and it is at the root of phobia- a paralyzing fear of a specific object or situation that instills a powerful and often unreasonable compulsion to avoid the source (open spaces for the agoraphobe, spiders for the arachnophobe).
Social Anxiety Disorder is probably the most common phobia. Social anxiety is something that most of us experience at some point. The disorder, however, is more intense than just being a little shy. It can be described as a consuming fear of any social situation that might involve meeting or talking to people or even being seen by others.

Different forms of anxiety can give rise to and feed off one another, and are often the cause of further problems such as depression, addiction, IBS, sleeping disorders, relationship issues, and many other issues.


 

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