Anxiety: types, causes and treatment

We’ve all felt anxious at some point, whether we call it feeling uncomfortable, nervous, or tense. It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious, and in fact, to some extent, it can have good effects like toning us up for a big game or sharpening our consciousness for an interview or exam.

But some forms of anxiety are not as healthy as others. If you get a little excited before an exam, it can be beneficial. However, if you are unable to sleep well the night before, or you start to sweat profusely and feel nauseous upon entering the exam room, this is a more serious anxiety attack and if you find that this is part of an ongoing pattern you should look help. .


Our reaction to stress is a built-in survival mechanism that originally allowed us to act instantly when our lives were threatened. To prepare for action, the heartbeat strengthens to pump blood to all muscles and blood pressure rises.

When action has been taken and the danger has passed or the problem has been resolved, the body relaxes and returns to normal once more. But when the threat is low-level and continuous, as is common in the emotionally stressful situations of modern life, often no direct action can be taken to deal with it and the body will suffer the effects of stress in the long term. Secondary symptoms may develop; These can include skin rashes, blemishes, weight problems (under or overweight). Interestingly, those who suffer from anxiety can also experience increased aggression or the reverse effect, becoming completely inhibited, withdrawn, and even extremely depressed.


Anxiety takes many forms. Some have obvious causes, such as a fear of dogs in someone who was bitten or scared off by one as a child. Other forms are not so clear cut and may include relationship anxiety that can make you sexually impotent or frigid. Occasionally, anxiety takes a nonspecific form, such as a sudden, unexplained panic on the way to the office or a general sense of hopelessness about the state of the world (called “heartbreak”).


There are two main theories about the causes of anxiety. The first argues that it is due to a personality disorder that makes our psychological defenses unable to function as they should. In other words, instead of recognizing the symptoms of anxiety and dealing with them, the person suffering from it turns the symptoms into a pattern, one that is often self-destructive.

The second theory states that there is a failure in some physical function, especially in the nervous system. This can be due to an imbalance of chemicals in the body. Supporters of this theory believe that these “dysfunctions” can be cured by effective and painless drug therapy.

Third, some theorists suggest that the causes of the problem are much simpler than any of these facts, it is simply a result of modern life: the widespread loss of social and ethical values ​​and a response to conditions about which we no longer feel. that we have no problem. control.


It is possible to try to cope with anxiety on your own. The first thing to do is recognize and accept the symptoms and try to discover and address the causes.

But, if this self-help process is not enough, and not even with the help of family and friends, it is best to consult your doctor. Your doctor can refer you to a psychotherapist who will help you discover and address the causes. This treatment can be carried out either in individual sessions or in the company of other anxious ones in group psychotherapy.

Many doctors are suggesting alternative therapies, the purpose of most of which is to help you relax and become more self-aware. These can include yoga, breathing exercises, biofeedback, or even meditation.

Written by Andy G

September 6, 2020
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