We explain what anxiety is and why it occurs. In addition, the types of anxiety, causes, symptoms and how to control it.
What is anxiety?
When we talk about anxiety we mean an involuntary anticipation or disproportionate response of the organism to stimuli (internal or external) that are perceived as dangerous, stressful or challenging. Anxiety usually triggers bodily tension reactions, such as adrenaline secretion or muscle seizure, as well as an unpleasant feeling of restlessness, urgency or dispersion.
Anxiety can be part of a common and common adaptive response of the organism in situations of risk or stress , so it is a response of the body itself to improve its response to the challenges ahead. Only when this response exceeds normal, that is, does it become uncontrollable, chronic or exaggerated against the dimensions of the stimulus (or even, when it lacks apparent stimulus), is a disorder started to be considered.
Even in those cases, anxiety is usually a symptom of a deeper or more hidden disease or ailment , whether bodily or psychic, and only by treating the root problem can it also be dealt with.
In modern societies , anxiety and its associated psychological disorders is increasingly a common ailment, associated with high levels of neuroticism . Upon getting out of control, it can trigger socially and functionally pernicious behaviors for individuals, as well as subjecting them to enormous emotional wear and suffering.
Causes of anxiety
The causes of anxiety can be of two types:
- External . Events or situations of daily life that arouse in the individual the perception of being in danger or at risk , such as a traffic accident, an important presentation, an entrance exam, a love date or any challenging situation.
- Internal . Emotional imbalances, psychic traumas, hormonal imbalances or psychological disorders can be causes of anxiety, triggering in situations in which there is no external stimulus that could trigger an adaptive response.
The usual symptoms of anxiety can be:
- Physical : nervous sweating, dry mouth, dizziness, instability, tremor, muscle tension, headaches, tachycardia, chest pain, shortness of breath , nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, frequent urination or sexual dysfunction.
- Psychological : worry, apprehension, overwhelm, restlessness, feeling of death or imminent madness, fear, irritability, restlessness, difficulties with concentration and memory , insomnia, inhibitions, compulsions, obsessions or evasion behaviors .
Types of anxiety
As stated before, it is common to distinguish between two forms of anxiety: adaptive and pathological.
- Adaptive anxiety . All human beings experience it on occasion: it is a response of the organism to a stressful situation, and which aims to be alert, prepared, ready for whatever happens. Normally it yields once the situation is over and does not prevent common operation.
- Pathological anxiety . That which has no explanation, or that is excessive in the face of its causal stimulus, or that is simply persistent over time , is considered a pathological anxiety, evidence of a psychological, emotional or hormonal disorder.
How to control anxiety?
To deal with anxiety there are homemade and simple formulas, as well as drugs and anxiolytics . It all depends, of course, on the type of anxiety we are talking about.
For pathological anxiety, simply, the underlying problem must be addressed. Anxiety symptoms can be treated separately, or together by taking anxiolytics, psychotropic drugs designed to chemically counteract it in the brain.
In contrast, common anxiety or the tendency to be anxious can be fought by:
- Sedative infusions, such as linden tea, chamomile, etc.
- Physical exercise, to “burn” anxiety and release endorphins.
- Meditation and spiritual activities, such as yoga, going to church, breathing exercises , etc.
- Distract yourself, through games, readings, movies or something that captures our attention.
- Walking, perhaps the simplest but effective method .
Generalized anxiety disorder
Anxiety and anguish should not be confused with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is what is called a series of psychic and emotional conditions closely linked to depressive or bipolar disorders. It is one of the most common mental illnesses, and is characterized by a chronic and unreal feeling of fear, worry and danger , which interfere with work and negatively impact the subject’s life.
They are usually symptoms of GAD along with worry: persistent insomnia, motor restlessness, difficulty concentrating or remembering, irritability, muscle tension and easy tiredness.