Anxiety is the bodies response to stress and is exhibited as fear or worry. Sometimes an increase in the pulse and sweating can also be observed in some serious instances. Anxiety is how we react to stress and is hardwired into all of us. Today however, we are looking at anxiety as a mental health issue. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 40 million adults in the US alone have some form of anxiety disorder. This is the most common mental health disorder. Someone is said to have an anxiety disorder when the person exhibits a disproportionately high level of anxiety to the situation faced or when the person experiences anxiety or fear over a situation that ordinarily should not provoke anxiety.
People suffering from anxiety disorders naturally try to avoid situations that trigger their anxiety, just that these could be normal situations which would not provoke anxiety in others who do not suffer from similar disorders. This is one of the ways in which the quality of life is affected and can lead to a chain of other issues. The cause of anxiety like many other mental illnesses is generally unknown although certain risk factors have been determined, such as stress, trauma, coming from a family with a history of anxiety disorders, and many others. It can also be caused by physical illness such as hyperthyroidism, and substance abuse or withdrawal.
There are different types of anxiety disorders. GAD which is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder, selective mutism, Substance Induced Anxiety, Separation Anxiety Disorder and others are all kinds of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders may have long lasting impact on the people that suffer them. It prevents people from building and developing relationships and may push people into substance abuse which often ends up worsening the situation. It can lead to underperformance at the workplace or school. This is because anxiety causes people to overthink trivial matters that suck the energy and attention needed in the more important tasks they need to carry out. This affected performance would in turn lead to more anxiety and underperformance and a vicious cycle is established.
It is advisable to seek help early if you ever notice symptoms of anxiety disorder personally or in a loved one. Often, a psychological examination is required to diagnose it, but if caught early, its impact on the quality of life on an individual can be greatly reduced.