The term “anxiety disorder” is commonly referred to a fairly broad group of diseases and conditions, the main symptom of which is anxiety. It is not simply a reaction to stress, but a psychoemotional disorder, which is characterized by certain biological mechanisms.
Key symptoms of the disease are psychic tension, anxiety, fear for one’s life, for the life of beloved ones, a premonition that something bad should happen. Such conditions can be associated with some external factors (for example, a person gets on the plane), but can come unexpectedly, without triggers just from nowhere. In some people anxiety is expressed in physical ailment, for example, in rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, dizziness, a sense of difficulty to breath. Unfortunately, such patients repeatedly apply for help to various specialists and go a long way before they get to a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist. However, we can talk about an anxiety disorder only after all somatic pathologies have been excluded.
In terms of prevalence, anxiety disorders rank as first among psychiatric disorders.
It has been established that in people with anxiety disorders, the brain structures responsible for hazard recognition have certain characteristics. These structures activate the autonomic nervous system, due to which there is a shiver in the body, heart rate increases and blood pressure rises. In fact, this is a mechanism based on false information that a person is in danger. Yes, in a certain percentage of cases, a traumatic event or severe stress can be a catalyst, however, long-term disorders that arise as a response to stressful events are characteristic for people who have a corresponding predisposition.
Anxiety is a “red flag”, which, just like pain, tells us about a problem and draws attention to it. Anxiety is a signal that we are in danger. In the brain there are certain biological mechanisms which are responsible for screening the surrounding world to recognize the potential danger and, if necessary, to launch a reaction (it usually ends up with a muscle response).
When a person is under serious overstrain, he naturally experiences anxiety, but when the anxiety level is higher than the real stimuli, and the anxiety lasts longer than the effect of these stimuli, we are dealing with an anxious disorder.
In the event of an anxiety disorder, even after the normalization of the situation, jitteriness and anxiety will not disappear – the patient will continue to think about unpleasant scenarios of what could happen, most likely, will have a bad sleep and will experience physical manifestations of anxiety which will not correspond to the real situation.
Anxiety is an absolutely natural condition. The point is how much it corresponds to external factors, how long it lasts and how much it affects your life. If because of it you have to stop doing things on which your career depends, or refuse to flights an airplane (although you know that you could get a lot of pleasant emotions from a trip), then it’s a pathology. In this case you need to think about support.
The most dangerous complication of anxiety disorders is that the disease can lead to severe depressions, which have an extremely negative impact on the quality of human life. If you are constantly experiencing anxiety, then the only correct decision is to consult a psychiatrist. It is the one who must determine what is needed – psychotherapeutic help or drug therapy. There are special clinical interviews and evaluation protocols, according to which the doctor prescribes treatment.