Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anxiety: Normal to Disorder

What is anxiety? 
  • It’s a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some future misfortune
  • A state of apprehension, uncertainty or fear, resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or imaginary threatening event or situation
  • May have emotional, behavioural, cognitive and physical components
Anxiety is commonly experienced by virtually all living beings including humans. It is an alerting signal and warns of threat, both internal and external, and is the first line of defense.
When the body prepares to deal with a threat: blood pressure and heart rate are increased, sweating is increased, blood flow to the muscles is increased, and other functions are inhibited (the fight or flight response) causing what we call the manifestations of anxiety.
It prepares us for the situations, and its consequences. It is beneficial to an individual and is NORMAL.

Anxiety and Performance
An increase in the anxiety to some extent helps a person grow and improve his performance.
In very low level of anxiety, performance is very low, as the anxiety increases the performance increases. A phase comes when performance is at its peak any increase in anxiety does not increase performance. At this stage any anxiety leads to discomfort. Now the anxiety symptoms will appear and any increase will reduce the performance and may lead to deterioration.
The complete absence of anxiety is as pathological as excessive anxiety.

Anxiety Disorders
  When anxiety becomes excessive, and being detrimental rather than adaptive, then it fall's under the classification of an anxiety disorder. There are several specific forms of the disorder as per the current classificatory systems. Some of these are: Agoraphobia, Social phobias, Specific (isolated) phobias, Panic disorder, Generalized anxiety disorder, Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, Anxiety disorder- unspecified.

Anxiety can also be a symptom of any other underlying medical condition such as mitral valve prolapse, hypoglycemia, pheochomcytoma, hyperthyroidism, hyper parathyroid, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure; or as a part of drug abuse and withdrawls.

Identify the Anxiety Symptoms
  1- Physiological
  • Palpitations or thumping of heart.
  • Tremors
  • Tightness of chest and choking sensation
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling
  • Urinary frequency
  • Increased motility of GI tract
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Pupillary dilatation
  • Light headedness
  • Diffuse,vague, unpleasant sense of apprehension, fearfulness,
  • Nervousness, irritability
  • Inability to relax,
  • Poor concentration
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Derealisation, depersonalization
  • Feeling of impending doom / disaster, the perception of danger is very real, as if he or she is about to die or pass out.
“There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.”


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