Imagine you are walking down the hallway to get to your next class. You look around as you walk, feeling perfectly content with yourself and your surroundings. Everything is fine, until one little thing goes wrong. Whether it is the mean girls gossiping and pointing at you, or even someone tripping and cutting their knee. You start sweating, shaking, feeling like you can not breath, choking, and maybe even having the sensation of dying. This reaction in your body is called experiencing an anxiety attack. “An anxiety or panic attack often comes on suddenly, with symptoms peaking within 10 minutes” (Vann). There are many different types of anxiety. This includes generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, specific phobias, and panic disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, exhibits fear of a broad area of subjects. According to adaa.org, “They may worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.” Social anxiety can be triggered by speaking in front of large groups, meeting new people, or even walking outside of your house. “Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations” (Digital Communications Division).
Another type of anxiety is called specific phobias. People who have specific phobias have an everyday fear to a specific object or situation. They can exhibit fear towards anything, from dogs to flowers. The last type of anxiety is called a panic disorder. “Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress” (Digital Communications Division). These unexpected episodes are called panic attacks. According to beyondblue.org, “If a person has recurrent panic attacks or persistently fears having one for more than a month, they’re said to have panic disorder.” There are many symptoms of anxiety, physically and mentally. “The physical symptoms of anxiety include dizziness, faster breathing, an irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nausea” (Anxiety and Panic). “The mental symptoms of anxiety include feeling tense, derealization, depersonalization, rumination, worrying, and feeling insecure” (Anxiety and Panic). This is a basic summary of what anxiety is, the different types of anxiety, and the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety can be triggered by many different things. “Some triggers may include health issues, medications, caffeine, skipping meals, negative thinking, financial concerns, parties or social events, conflict, stress, public events or performances, or personal triggers” (Holland). Along with these causes, some types of anxiety, such as social anxiety or specific phobias, have an unknown cause. This means that they can either have no cause, or there is a cause that doctors have not yet discovered.
Life with an anxiety disorder is hard. Some people without anxiety believe that someone with this disorder is crazy, or that they might even be making it up to get attention. These reasons are exactly why people with an anxiety disorder avoid telling loved ones that something is not right. Living with anxiety can make it hard to go to school, present projects, and make new friends. Anxiety can make a person doubt themself so much that they distance themselves from everyone, eventually losing friends and family. Although anxiety is difficult to deal with, there are many different coping mechanisms that people can use. These coping mechanisms can help to minimize anxiety, or even get rid of it all together. Some coping mechanisms include accepting you cannot control everything, maintaining a positive attitude, limiting alcohol and caffeine, taking deep breaths, and slowly counting to ten (Tips to Manage). Even though there are many different coping mechanisms for anxiety, all of them might not work for you. When coping mechanisms do not work for you, it is necessary to seek medical treatment. Treatments for different anxiety disorders are different for each patient, primarily because there are so many different anxiety disorders and symptoms. The different medications prescribed to patients are SSRIs, SNRIs, benzodiazepines, beta blockers, and many more other medications. Patients who are opposed to medications can also go to therapy.
The different treatments patients can use include cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and group therapy. Other treatments you can use includes hypnosis, deep brain stimulation, receptive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation. Anxiety can be very pressing on one’s life. There are so many people around you that could be suffering from GAD, social anxiety, specific phobias, or a panic disorder. Having an anxiety disorder can break up relationships, make people become self-conscious, and pull people down with it. Although having an anxiety disorder is very difficult, pushing through it can bring a very positive effect, and even make them stronger along the way.