Anxiety is an emotion that is considered an ordinary part of life that is caused and explained by human experiences, unstable environments, and many other internal and external factors. However, there are situations when anxiety becomes a disorder with its specific symptoms and implications for health. In such cases, research and thorough examinations are required to diagnose a patient, develop a treatment plan, and choose effective care options. Nowadays, the proportion of global anxiety cases is approximately 3.6%, meaning that more than 264 million people live with this disorder (World Health Organization, 2017). In this paper, anxiety disorder will be investigated in terms of its types, causes, incidence, and diagnosis to understand the treatment modalities and predict negative health consequences.
Causes and Epidemiology of Anxiety
To receive effective help, people must define a situation when anxiety is not a normal emotion anymore but a mental health problem. Ströhle, Gensichen, and Domschke (2018) specified that this condition becomes a disease when it happens without any reasonable event, threat, or circumstance and continues affecting a person’s behavior for a certain period of time. The investigations by Kessler or Beesdo (as cited in Craske et al., 2017) proved that childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood are the common periods for most anxiety disorders that become chronic and dangerous with age. There is a significant knowledge gap in understanding the causes of anxiety. The use of medications, traumas, stress, alcohol, or a personality type may induce the development of this disorder. Ströhle et al. (2018) said that women are affected three times, commonly compared to men. The World Health Organization (2017) discovered that Americans are the nation with the highest prevalence of this mental health problem. However, each situation is unique, depending on the type of anxiety, its duration, and the ability to recognize it as early as possible.
Types of Anxiety and Its Diagnosis
There are many types of anxiety that are characterized by specific symptoms and outcomes in human health. The most common cases are generalized anxiety disorder, also known as GAD (2.2%), social anxiety disorder or SAD (2.7%), panic disorder with/without agoraphobia or PDA (6%), and specific phobias (10.3%) (Bandelow, Michaelis, & Wedekind, 2017). Selective mutism is observed in children who fail to speak in social situations when there is some expectation to speak or participate in something. Panic disorders happen unexpectedly and are accompanied by chest pain, dyspnea, or palpations. GAD is diagnosed when such symptoms as nausea, muscle tension, constant worry, and tremor are observed. People with social phobias are challenged by situations when they have to be the center of attention and the possibility of being criticized. Specific phobias are related to particular situations, people, subjects, or places when mood changes and increased heartbeat bother a patient. Persistent worries, avoidance, and insignificant vital signs changes should be examined and explained to diagnose patients and decide what kind of professional help may be offered.
Treatment and Consequences
The effectiveness of anxiety treatment depends on the quality and appropriateness of the decisions made by an expert. According to Bandelow et al. (2017), not all anxiety disorders should be treated if their symptoms are mild until patients suffer from distress or complications. Depression, social isolation, problematic sleeping, headache, and even suicidal intentions are the conditions that may be observed in people with anxiety and worsen the quality of life. Therefore, treatment should be timely, and its urgency is properly explained to patients.
There are pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to be used by therapists and psychologists to help people with anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) is offered by an expert to identify and remove symptoms of anxiety. It includes supportive talks and discussion of emotional problems and concerns, psychoeducation, and the creation of virtual reality (Bandelow et al., 2017). Medications may also be prescribed to patients if psychotherapy is not enough to achieve positive outcomes. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (20-40 mg), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (60-120 mg), tricyclic anti-depressants (75-250 mg), calcium modulators (150-600 mg), or reversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors (300-600 mg) are the main drug recommendations (Bandelow et al., 2017). Still, it is necessary to remember that some of these drugs may not be licensed for anxiety disorder treatment in different parts of the world. Expert consultation should not be avoided to make sure help is legal and effective. The combination of psychotherapy and medication is frequently used to treat patients with the disorder under analysis.
Anxiety, as an emotion and a mental health disorder, has different impacts on people and society. This research proves that people have a number of options to identify, prevent, control, and treat the progress of anxiety in their lives. However, instead of making independent decisions, either to choose pharmacological or non-pharmacological options, patients have to address to a professional therapist or psychologist and ask for help. Anxiety disorders vary in their types and are characterized by different symptoms. Lifestyle modifications, attention to personal health, and a safe environment are the major components of life without anxiety.
Bandelow, B., Michaelis, S., & Wedekind, D. (2017). Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 19(2), 93-107.
Craske, M. G., Stein, M. B., Eley, T. C., Milad, M. R., Holmes, A., Rapee, R. M., & Wittchen, H.-U. (2017). Anxiety disorders. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 3. Web.
Ströhle, A., Gensichen, J., & Domschke, K. (2018). The diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 115, 611-620. Web.
World Health Organization. (2017). Depression and other common mental disorders: Global health estimates. Web.