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Anxiety: Spreading Knowledge and Awareness

What is anxiety?

The dictionary definition for anxiety is: “A mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities”

Over 4 million of adults in the US every year are affected or over 18% of the population every year.

This chart shows how many times people with anxiety overlook their symptoms and proceed with life.

What causes anxiety?

“Anxiety may be caused by a mental condition, a physical condition, the effects of drugs, or a combination of these. The doctor’s initial task is to see if your anxiety is a symptom of another medical condition.”

  • Stress at work
  • Stress from school
  • Stress in a personal relationship 
  • Financial stress
  • Stress from an emotional trauma such as the death of a loved one
  • Stress from a serious medical illness
  • Side effect of medication
  • Use of an illicit drug, such as cocaine
  • Symptom of a medical illness 
  • Lack of oxygen in circumstances as diverse as high altitude sickness,emphasyma, or pulmonary embolism(a blood clot in the vessels of the lung)

We all face anxiety

I have chosen to research anxiety, because I believe that in some shape or form in everyone’s life not particularly in large doses, people get anxious, and I believe that through the research of this mental illness, I would be able to have a greater understanding of who those with mental illness face life and overcome their anxiety. Mental illness has always intrigued me as although people may seem fine on the outside, their minds are racing on the inside and that can easily be masked.

What’s the difference?

From a neurological standpoint:

“Serotonin is a chemical nerve cells produce. It sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin is found mostly in the digestive system although it’s also in blood plateletsand throughout the central nervous system.” A decrease of serotonin in the brain cause to some disorder such as anxiety and depression but they can both be treated. It is important to have a balance of serotonin in the body as it helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds, stimulate nausea, and maintain bone health. The chemical is important for stimulating part of the brain.

Symptoms: 

  • a general feeling of uneasiness
  • persistently being on alert for danger
  • persistent worry
  • an overly cautious approach to life
  • a persistent feeling of being unsafe
  • overly reactive to things that you perceive could be threatening
  • many of the physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety 101: Case study interview 

I had the opportunity to interview a friend of mine who has Anxiety and she was able to give me some insight on her conditions.

 How did you know you had anxiety?
My friend (anonymous) was in a car accident a couple years back and she said that, that was one of the things that had triggered her anxiety. We also both go to a very rigorous school, and she said that the stress had also triggered her anxiety as she was overwhelmed with work load and handling that. She at first thought that her stress was normal as everyone else at school was stressed, yet she found her stress very uncontrollable. Once she had the car accident that was really her breaking point and that is when she knew she needed to seek help. She found it very difficult to be happy and described herself as “hopeless and out of it” and said the accident was her “wake up call”. She went and talked with a doctor who diagnosed her with anxiety.
 How long have you had it for?
She believes that she has had anxiety for a long time, but had only been diagnosed for a year. She learned many coping strategies such as being less self deprecating and more optimistic. She also learned how to eliminate negative thoughts which was one of the main things she struggled with. Many times she focused too much on grades which made her feel like she was not good enough and needs to do better. Along with these coping strategies she also had medication which helped her with her severe anxiety. She also visits a psychiatrist and started her treatment this February. Some symptoms of her anxiety was shaking, trembling, acid reflex, vertigo, terrible stomach problems, head aches, sweating, insomnia, and one side effect is depression. This medication helped her with her anxiety and its symptoms but the medication itself produced some issues such as dizziness and loss of appetite. She said: “it took me about 3 months to find a stable dosage, as it had many side effects”.  She takes Prozak which is a SSRI medication which inhibits and regulates serotonin levels in her body. These treatments are working for her!
How has this disorder effected your life/what seemed to change about you?
“getting diagnosed was the most relieving because I knew that there was an issue but did not know how to express it” she found it to be the most relieving because she knew that she wasn’t “crazy” and that she could be helped and could be treated. Something she touched on very briefly was how mental illness was a fairly new concept and may not be something easy for adults to grasp as it was difficult for her parents to understand her mental state and said everything felt like it made no sense. She said that she would sometimes use her mental illness as a crutch and sometimes use it to get out of things as she would sense the future stress it may bring, and has learned how to control that and overcome her disorder. On a day to day basis she has found herself to be more impulsive, be brutally honest, and moody which she has found to affect some of her relationships. Some people have turned down relationships with her as people do not want to take up the “burden” of being her friend which she does not want and only wants to have her life filled with people who build her up rather than break her down.

Treatment and medication:

As anxiety is different from person to person, some treatments and medications only work for specific cases.
Medication is used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and is often prescribed by therapists.
Therapy is a good resort for those who would like to express their emotions as it can be difficult for those who have anxiety to keep it in which often times makes it worse.

Anxiety Simulation:

Using Headphones I would encourage you all to engage in this anxiety simulator video then discuss below the feelings that you were feeling and how you experience anxiety on any scale in your day to day life.

How can I help?

Awareness and education is key to helping those with anxiety. As May is mental health awareness month, I encourage all of you to visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) in order to learn more about mental health like anxiety and even donate to the cause! Click this link to check it out! https://adaa.org

Lets Discuss! 

Also please discuss is this padlet how anxiety has affected you in your own life!

https://padlet.com/raebaroy/qat4bwjeck2m

 

Bibliography: 

http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms.shtml

http://www.advancedpsychotherapeutics.com/ANXIETY.en.html

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20646990,00.html#excessive-worry–0

https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/causes-anxiety

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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