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What’s The Meaning Of Anxiety

The Third Largest Mental Health Care Problem

What is Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than past estimates have led us to believe. Millions of people all over the world suffer from this devastating and traumatic condition every day, either from a specific social anxiety or from a more generalized social anxiety.

In the United States, epidemiological studies have recently pegged social anxiety disorder as the third largest psychological disorder in the country, after depression and alcoholism. It is estimated that about 7% of the population suffers from some form of social anxiety at the present time. The lifetime prevalence rate for developing social anxiety disorder is 13-14%.

When Should You Seek Professional Help If You Have Existential Anxiety

Some people who suffer from existential anxiety benefit from seeking professional help. You might be able to deal with existential anxiety on your own. However, there are times when actively using your coping skills is insufficient to get you through. If youre having trouble coping with existential anxiety despite your best efforts, its time to seek professional help.

If you notice that your anxiety is worsening and interfering with your ability to perform basic tasks or enjoy your life, seeking help with anxiety management can help you get back on track. Consider seeking help if youre becoming progressively distracted, irritable, or tired, having difficulty making decisions because youre worried about the consequences, or if youre starting to feel like life is meaningless or that you dont have a positive purpose. Its important to remember that existential anxiety is a universal human emotion. You are not alone, and others have been in your shoes and may be able to offer helpful advice.

How To Help Children With Anxiety

Anxiety in children is natural and common. In fact, one in eight children will experience anxiety. As children grow up and learn from their parents, friends, and caretakers, they typically develop the skills to calm themselves and cope with feelings of anxiety.

But, anxiety in children can also become chronic and persistent, developing into an anxiety disorder. Uncontrolled anxiety may begin to interfere with daily activities, and children may avoid interacting with their peers or family members.

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder might include:

  • jitteriness

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What Are The Treatments For Anxiety Disorders

The main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy , medicines, or both:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is often used to treat anxiety disorders. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking and behaving. It can help you change how you react to the things that cause you to feel fear and anxiety. It may include exposure therapy. This focuses on having you confront your fears so that you will be able to do the things that you had been avoiding.
  • Medicines to treat anxiety disorders include anti-anxiety medicines and certain antidepressants. Some types of medicines may work better for specific types of anxiety disorders. You should work closely with your health care provider to identify which medicine is best for you. You may need to try more than one medicine before you can find the right one.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Worry Is A Component Of Anxiety Symptoms

Whats The Difference Between Anxiety And Social Anxiety ...

Anxiety has three main components: emotional, physiological, and cognitive.

Imagine you have a presentation coming up at work. You might notice feelings of fear and dread, two examples of the emotional component. You may also notice bodily sensations, such as heart palpitations, sweating, or a tightness in your stomach, which represent the physiological component. Finally, you might be thinking, I cant do it, or Im going to embarrass myself. Worries and negative thoughts like these about what might happen in the future are the cognitive component. So, while worry is an important part of anxiety, it is only one of the three main building blocks.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

As a human being, there are always risks that put your life in danger. Most people are lucky enough to avoid these dangers and live a nice and safe life. But in some cases, you may experience a life trauma â either physically or emotionally â and this can cause an anxiety problem known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

As the name implies, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that comes after the traumatic event has occurred. Those living with PTSD often must get outside help, because PTSD can affect people for years after the event occurs â possibly even for the rest of their life.

PTSD affects people both psychologically and physically. In most cases, the person with PTSD is the one that experienced the traumatic event, but it’s possible to get PTSD by simply witnessing an event or injury, or even simply discovering that someone close to you dealt with a traumatic event.

Symptoms include:

You may also experience severe “what if” scenarios everywhere you go, including disaster thinking or feeling helpless/hopeless in public situations. Many of those with PTSD also experience avoidance behaviors of events, things, and even people that may remind them of the event â even if there is no link between these issues and the trauma.

Those with post-traumatic stress disorder may be at a greater baseline of stress on most days. They may be short-tempered or easy to anger. They may be startled/frightened easily or be unable to sleep. PTSD can be a difficult problem to live with.

Best Books On Living And Dealing With Anxiety

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety, by Sarah Wilson

Wilson, an Australian journalist, is no stranger to the beast that is anxiety. She interviews a range of authorities around the world in this book, which is a mix of memoir, journalism, and self-help, with practical and compassionate advice for conquering said beast.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  • BSchmitz 4 Apr 2017Reply

    You took my thoughts and articulated them very well. Thank you

  • Sherrie 5 Apr 2017Reply

    You are welcome.

  • Don 4 Apr 2017Reply

    Too few, other than those who have lived at least part of this will understand. I understand, and you touched me. I also thank you.

  • Sherrie 5 Apr 2017Reply

    The joy of writing these things is knowing that somehow, somewhere, I may be able to relate, touch, or make a difference in someones life. I think doing this is the only way to live with these illnesses gifts.

  • Alice 5 Apr 2017Reply

    Depression is the one, that teaches me spirituality. Not, that I like to be depressed, but if I am happy and active, there is little time for self searching and looking for meanings of life, death, suffering and pain. On the other hand, when I am depressed, all those questions become very important. I also look for the cure, and this search leads me to the new ways and deeper states of spirituality and philosophy. Unfortunately, so far I only learn about new ways, but have no strength and discipline to practice them. Thank you, I got a feeling, you understand

  • Sherrie 1 Aug 2017Reply


    I do understand and for a long time, I thought I was the only one who operated in this manner. My writing, artwork, and spirituality improve during bouts of depression. Its always seemed so unfair to me because the good times were supposed to be more fulfilling. Maybe there are things we will never understandIm sure of it.

  • Research And Statistics: How Many People Have Anxiety Disorders And When Do Symptoms Tend To Start

    Depression, Anxiety and WHAT IS NORMAL | Kati Morton

    Many people first develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder during childhood. Some anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias and social anxiety disorder, are more likely to develop in childhood or the teenage years, while others, such as generalized anxiety disorder, are more likely to start in young adulthood.

    Brain and Behavior

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    Coping Strategies For Existential Anxiety

    It is crucial to confront and cope with existential anxiety. When risks are ignored, the consequences can be severe, and people can continue to suffer. When people deal with it positively, they may grow and rediscover new meaning and connections.

    Coping with existential anxiety is a process of learning to live well despite feelings of existential dread instead of having to overcome it .

    To deal with existential anxiety, try these seven strategies:

    Develop a mindfulness practice

    Mindfulness is a method of being with yourself and your life in which you focus on the current moment rather than on the past or future. When youre attentive, you use your senses to bring you back to the present now, and you accept things as they are without judging them. This enables you to respond thoughtfully to challenges rather than reacting emotionally. Mindfulness can help you manage existential anxiety in a constructive light by keeping you focused on your life in the present moment, allowing you to take action to create meaning rather than just thinking about problems and wondering about what will happen as a result of your decisions.

    1. Contemplate Your Worrying Thoughts

    Assess your anxious feelings and thoughts for patterns. Determine when you are less stressed and more energized. What exactly is going on during these moments, and how can you replicate it? You might want to keep track of your moods and what you do when you are anxious versus when you are not.

    What Is An Anxiety Disorder

    Severity of symptoms and a persons ability to cope separate everyday worries or anxious moments from anxiety disorders. National surveys estimate nearly one in five Americans over 18, and one in three teens ages 13 to 18, had an anxiety disorder during the past year.

    If anxiety is persistent, excessive, or routinely triggered by situations that arent an actual threat, tell your doctor, who can discuss treatment options or refer you to an experienced mental health professional.

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    How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Related To Anxiety Disorders

    Some people feel the effects of stress in their stomachs. People with IBS have uncomfortable problems with digestion, including stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. They also frequently have anxiety and depression, which can make symptoms worse.

    The connection between IBS and anxiety comes from the nervous system partly controlling the colon. The nervous systems response to stress may affect the stomach. Among people who get treated for IBS, anywhere from 50% to 90% may also have an anxiety disorder or depression. Treatment for IBS may include stress management and psychotherapy to relieve symptoms.

    Are Anxiety Disorders More Common In Women

    Stress management 1_

    progesteroneSocial Science and Medicine

    What is known for sure, says Beth Salcedo, MD, the medical director of the Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders and a past board president of the ADAA, is that more often than not, women definitely experience an uptick in anxiety before menstruation, around perimenopause, and after giving birth.

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    The Anxiety Disorder Spectrum

    Anxiety in itself is not bad. Normal levels of anxiety lie on one end of a spectrum and may present as low levels of fear or apprehension, mild sensations of muscle tightness and sweating, or doubts about your ability to complete a task. Importantly, symptoms of normal anxiety do not negatively interfere with daily functioning. They may actually improve your attention and problem-solving, motivate you to work harder toward a goal, or warn you about a potential threat. For example, anxiety about an upcoming exam will likely drive you to prepare fully, and the anxiety a hiker might experience when encountering a bear allows the hiker to run away to safety. These examples demonstrate how normal levels of anxiety can be adaptive and helpful to your everyday life.

    Clinical levels of anxiety fall toward the other end of the spectrum. Diagnosable anxiety disorders occur when anxiety levels rise enough to rapidly decrease performance and cause impairment.

    How would you know if you have crossed over into the zone of a full-blown anxiety disorder? Anxiety disorders are characterized by severe, persistent worry that is excessive for the situation, and extreme avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations. These symptoms cause distress, impair daily functioning, and occur for a significant period. For instance, a person who needs to stay home from work several days in a row due to panic attacks is likely suffering from an anxiety disorder.

    Can Foods Treat Anxiety

    Medication and talk therapy are commonly used to treat anxiety. Lifestyle changes, like getting enough sleep and regular exercise, can also help. In addition, some research suggests the foods you eat may have a beneficial impact on your brain if you frequently experience anxiety.

    These foods include:

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    How Generalised Anxiety Disorder Is Treated

    GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can ease your symptoms.

    These include:

    With treatment, many people are able to control their anxiety levels. But some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods when your symptoms worsen.

    How To Find Help For Social Anxiety Disorder

    What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

    Social anxiety, as well as the other anxiety disorders, can be successfully treated. In seeking support for this problem, search for a specialist — someone who understands this problem well and knows from experience how to treat it.

    Become an informed client and ask questions. For example, does the therapist understand that you feel very self-conscious and that others are watching and forming a negative evaluation about you? or do they minimize what youre saying and just say, “No, No, No, youre fine … you’re just exaggerating….” or expect you to go out and do unreasonable “exposures”?

    It is true that we who have lived through social anxiety do realize our mind is many times irrational and we over-exaggerate, but it still FEELS like others are watching and judging us. Our self-consciousness is a feeling and it is very real.

    If your psychologist/mental health care worker does not understand this, you know more than they do about social anxiety. Under these circumstances, it is very doubtful they will be able to help you.

    Also, remember that the professional should always welcome your questions. If someone seems unfriendly or too clinical, they should not be your choice of a therapist.

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    What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

    If you have an anxiety disorder, ask your provider:

    • Whats the best treatment for me?
    • Do I need medication? What type?
    • How long should I take medication?
    • What type of psychotherapy will work best?
    • What else can I do to manage my symptoms?
    • What other conditions am I at risk for?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    An anxiety disorder can make it difficult to get through your day. Anxiety disorder symptoms include feelings of nervousness, panic and fear. You may also have physical symptoms such as sweating and a rapid heartbeat. But you dont need to live like this. Several effective anxiety disorder treatments are available. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out your diagnosis and the best treatment plan. Often, treatment combines medications and therapy. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, together with CBT, can help you feel your best.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.


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