Anxiety has a very specific definition in both the medical and psychological fields. Anxiety is “the reaction to the stress of the nervous system.” So, what exactly is anxiety? Anxiety can be natural and unconscious or it can be a learned behavior. If you’re not sure if you have anxiety, try the Social Anxiety Quiz to give you a better idea of where you stand. Some anxiety is expected and almost always arises from the course of everyday life; however, persistent, extreme, or recurrent anxiety not related to any present stress in response to perceived triggers in real-world situations is often considered a symptom of a mental illness. An anxiety disorder with accompanying physical symptoms such as sweating, palpitations, dizziness, stomachaches, insomnia, or headaches is medically classified as an anxiety condition.
What causes anxiety? Researchers have identified a number of possible causes of anxiety including genetic predisposition, neurological abnormalities, evolutionary biology, stress, and emotional trauma. Anxiety can affect anyone of any age, race, or gender. Genetics seem to play an important role in determining who becomes more prone to anxiety disorders than others.
Anxiety disorders can be treated using a combination of medication and natural remedies. In most cases, conventional treatments such as antidepressants and anxiolytics are accompanied by a number of side effects such as fatigue, nausea, sexual problems, headaches, vomiting, or appetite loss. If these medications are taken for an extended period of time, they can even destroy your brain’s ability to function properly. The alternative to anxiety disorder treatment using natural remedies is cognitive behavioral therapy. This treatment is based on the idea that our behavioral responses to stressful situations are essentially designed by our natural psychology and can be modified using positive reinforcement.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders can be effectively treated with the use of natural therapies such as meditation, relaxation techniques, dietary changes, cognitive restructuring, and exercise. These approaches reduce negative thoughts and replace them with realistic, self-esteem based thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, many of these approaches are not effective and only provide short term relief from symptoms. However, if symptoms worsen or the condition does not improve, you may need to try something stronger or switch to a different method.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the notion that our psychological reactions are largely controlled by automatic, instinctual responses that are triggered by negative emotion and cognitive thoughts. For example, rapid breathing can be triggered when we feel fear or anxiety. However, rapid breathing is a normal reaction when we are frightened, so we do not notice the occurrence of this response. If we listen to the appropriate stimulus in such a way that the symptoms we are scared of diminish or stop, we can begin to work through our reactions to the situation and learn to calm down and relax. Once we can do this on a regular basis, it becomes easier to cope with the anxiety disorder and reduce its symptoms.
The best treatment for anxiety is to find a mental health issue that causes the anxiety and treat that condition. For example, social phobia is caused by the fear of going to a social event. Panic disorder symptoms are likely to occur when the sufferer finds that they are having anxiety attacks or other panic symptoms such as palpitations. In many cases, there is no real reason for the symptoms and rapid breathing, sweating, dizziness or muscle pain.