Anxiety is an emotion known to everybody. It is an unpleasant sensation similar to fear, although fear is a response to a concrete danger (there is a man with a knife standing in front of me), whereas anxiety refers to something that might happen or that could be dangerous in theory (what if I fail my exam...). Anxiety is often accompanied by a pounding heart, nausea, chest pain and shortness of breath. It can last a short amount of time – acute, or long-term – chronic. The intensity of anxiety can vary from minor unrest to a significant state of panic. From this we see that it is a quite common feeling that every one of us has experienced at least once. Problems arise when anxiety occurs often, appears in situations that should not be anxiety-inducing, or if it somehow restricts an individual in his day-to-day life. There are people, for example, that cannot ride the bus because once they get on it, their heart starts racing, they cannot breath, they begin to sweat, are restless and in the end they need to get off and go by foot. Other people may repeatedly wash their hands because they feel that it is the only way to prevent them from catching an illness or disease. This often restricts them and these individuals are unable to devote any time to their hobbies or work. In these cases, anxiety becomes a problem and needs to be addressed.
Anxiety and its Cause
Why does anxiety occur? Opinions on this issue vary widely. Some biologically oriented psychologists consider genetic factors, injuries, tumors, inflammation of the brain or the failure of chemical messengers and many other chemicals that act on the nervous system. Psychotherapy oriented professionals see the cause of anxiety in the unconscious conflicts of the mind – I want something but I know that it is not right and so I feel guilty for my desire (I like pornography, but what would people say about me...). Anxiety is also connected to self-esteem and a sense of purpose in life. This is why teenagers and young adults suffer from anxiety the most.
No matter the type of anxiety, patients suffer greatly. Anxiety is also often linked to sleep problems, loss of appetite, crying and a loss of interest in friends and hobbies. It is therefore important to begin looking for help as soon as possible. If you feel you are experiencing some of the above mentioned symptoms of anxiety, do not hesitate to visit a GP. He or she will listen to you and help you find an appropriate treatment method, whether it is visiting a specialist or medications. A GP is also able to assess whether he or she is able to treat you himself, or whether it best for you to visit a psychologist or psychiatrist. No matter the GP's choice, know that it is in your best interest and never think that "psychiatrists are for crazy people." You would be surprised how many people visit psychiatrists regularly. A psychiatrist is only there for you and your problems, including anxiety, and it is completely normal to seek his help.
Anxiety is often treated with antidepressives. Their consumption causes a change in the biochemistry (chemical processes) of the brain. Individuals become calm and no longer feel anxious or experience panic attack. Other accompanying symptoms such as a racing heart, chest pain etc...are eliminated as well. It is also possible to turn to a psychotherapist for cognitive-behavior therapy, where a person learns to handle anxiety under expert guidance by talking about or being exposed to anxiety-inducing situations.