If you are suffering from depression, you will often be nervous and have anxiety symptoms. And if you are suffering from an anxiety condition, you will often also be depressed.
An anxiety condition is a disease in which anxiety, worrying and nervousness are so prominent and bothersome that you have to change and restrict your life. There are things you are unable to do and there can be places where you are unable to go due to your anxiety.
In the worst cases you can be so anxious in so many ways that the anxiety debilitates you. In such a case you definitely need to be treated for the anxiety.
Some psychiatrists believe that the suffering from anxiety is depression hidden under anxiety symptoms. Other psychiatrists believe that the two diseases are independent of each other and that during the course of an anxiety condition you develop secondary depression.
Anxiety and unexplained physical symptoms are in any case closely related to depression. If you don't get treated in time, the one disease can lead to the others. Unfortunately, you risk getting all the diseases if you have been ill for a long time.
Luckily, there are several effective treatments for anxiety conditions. It is important for your treatment that the psychiatrist can predict the course of the condition and select the appropriate treatment. Anxiety conditions have therefore been divided into different diagnoses just like depressions are also divided into diagnoses.
In the psychiatric diagnosis list ICD-10 there are a number of anxiety conditions, which just like all other diagnoses can overlap. You can often observe more anxiety conditions simultaneously.
Anxiety conditions are included together with other similar diagnoses in a chapter in ICD-10 called "Nervous and stress related conditions and conditions with psychologically determined physical symptoms".
In this section you can read about different types of anxiety.
Anxiety is an emotional reaction which we are all familiar with. You can probably remember the malaise from the last couple of hours and minutes before an exam. Or when you are about to give a speech at a big celebration. Your hands are clammy and shaking. Your heart is beating in your chest. You feel like you need the toilet. You don't think clearly and easily loose your nerve. When at last you reply, your voice is weak and husky.
We know the feeling of anxiety when we are waiting for a reply from the doctor about a test, when we go for a job interview or on a first date or when we are just about to have a traffic accident.
Your physical and mental reaction are roughly the same each time you become anxious no matter what the reason is. It is the same reaction you get when you become scared about a real danger. Lost in thought, you could walk out in front of a car and be close to being run over. Or you could be threatened by a group of drunken men on a dark night.
The goal of Behaviour Therapy is to modify and gain control over unwanted behaviour. The individual learns to cope with difficult situations, often through controlled exposure to them. This kind of therapy gives the individual a sense of having control over their life.
The goal of Cognitive Therapy is to change unproductive or harmful thought patterns. The individual examines his feelings and learns to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts. As with Behaviour Therapy, the individual is actively involved in his own recovery and has a sense of control.
Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Many therapists use a combination of Cognitive and Behaviour Therapies, this is often referred to as CBT. One of the benefits of these types therapies is that the patient learns recovery skills that are useful for a lifetime.
Relaxation Techniques help individuals develop the ability to more effectively cope with the stresses that contribute to anxiety, as well as with some of the physical symptoms of anxiety. The techniques taught include breathing re-training and exercise. Regular exercise helps one feel healthier, increases the production of natural 'feel good' chemicals in the body, boosts self-esteem and significantly reduces the symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety.
Medication can be very useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders and it is often used in conjunction with one or more of the therapies mentioned above. Sometimes anti-depressants or anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications) are used to alleviate severe symptoms so that other forms of therapy can go forward. Medication is effective for many people and can be either a short-term or long-term treatment option, depending on the individual.
Interestingly, some foods help to fight depression and anxiety. A carbohydrate rich diet helps the body produce serotonin - the 'feel good' chemical. Special serotonin foods are oats, whole wheat, bananas and other carbohydrate rich foods. Make sure you are having a full supplement of Vitamin B, magnesium, zinc and iron - a deficiency in any of these can lead to depression and anxiety-type symptoms and insomnia.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illness and affect both children and adults.
They develop from an interaction of numerous risk factors, including personality, genetics, brain chemistry, and life stress. Approximately 19 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering from them receive treatment.
The main feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive, unrealistic and uncontrollable worry about everyday events.
This constant worry affects daily functioning and brings physical symptoms. GAD can occur with other anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or substance abuse.
It can be misdiagnosed because it lacks some of the dramatic symptoms, such as unprovoked attacks of panic, that are seen with other anxiety disorders. For a diagnosis to be made, uncontrollable worrying occur more days than not for at least 6 months.
The focus of GAD is fluid, shifting unpredictably from job issues, finances, health of both self and family, and smaller issues such as chores, car repairs and being late for appointments.
The intensity, duration and frequency of the worry are disproportionate to the issue and interferes with the sufferer's daily life. Physical symptoms can include muscle tension, sweating, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and/or nausea, cold and clammy palms, the feeling of having a "lump in the throat" and difficulty swallowing.
Sufferers are irritable and complain about feeling on edge, tire easily tired and have trouble sleeping.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is characterized by persistent, recurring thoughts (obsessions) that reflect exaggerated anxiety or fears; typical obsessions include worry about being contaminated or fears of behaving improperly or acting violently.
The obsessions may cause the individual to perform a rituals or routines to relieve the anxiety, such as excessive handwashing, checking appliances, repeating phrases or hoarding.
People with Panic Disorder suffer severe acute attacks of panic for no apparant reason, which may mimic the symptoms of a heart attack or cause them to feel they are losing their minds.
Symptoms include heart palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, sweating, trembling, tingling sensations, feeling of choking, fear of dying, fear of losing control, and feelings of unreality.
Panic disorder is often accompanied by agoraphobia, in which people are afraid of having a panic attack in a public place, so they become afraid to leave the safety of their controlled home environment.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can follow a traumatic event such as a sexual or physical assault, witnessing a death, the unexpected death of a loved one, or natural disaster.
There are three main symptoms associated with PTSD: "reliving" of the traumatic event (such as flashbacks and nightmares); avoidance behaviors (such as avoiding places and other reminders related to the trauma) and emotional numbing (detachment from others); and physiological arousal such difficulty sleeping, irritability or poor concentration.
Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by severe anxiety about being judged by others or behaving in a way that might bring ridicule or embarrassment. This intense anxiety may lead to extreme shyness and avoidance of social situations.
Physical symptoms associated with this disorder include faintness, heart palpitations, blushing and profuse sweating.
Anxiety disorders also include Specific Phobias, an intense and unreasonable fear of specific objects or situations, such as spiders, dogs, or heights.
The disproportionate level of fear is recognized by the sufferer as being irrational. It can lead to the avoidance of common, everyday situations.
Patients often have more than one anxiety disorder, and sometimes other illness as well such as depression or substance abuse. Treatment of anxiety disorders includes support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, anxiety management and relaxation techniques, and psychotherapy.
Drugs therapy used to treat anxiety disorders includes benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and beta-blockers.
Often a combination of the two therapies is more useful than one exclusively. Up to 90 percent of patients will show improvement of their symptom from medical treatment.