Anxiety is a normal feeling that everyone experiences. Sweaty palms while waiting for a job interview, butterflies in the stomach on a first date, these are things we all go through. Anxiety prepares you for stressful life events. For a person with an anxiety disorder these feelings do not go away. These disorders usually interfere with everday life. It is important to address anxiety disorders because it can happen to anyone, anytime and 12 percent of Canadians are affected on any given day.
There are many types of anxiety disorders. Panic disorder is when a person has frequent attacks of intense fear, sometimes for no reason. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is described as recurrent and persistent thoughts and feelings and repetitive, ritualized behaviors. There is also social anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and genralized anxiety disorder. Many believe that these disorders are inherited, but they can also be caused by a sudden traumatic event.
The symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary. Most patients report feelings of panic, fear, uneasiness, cold or sweaty hands, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Others report dry mouth, nausea, diziness and even being unable to sit still. With obsessive compulsive disorders the symptoms may be uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts, ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing. Post traumatic stress disorder can cause nightmares and repeatedly reliving the traumatic event.
A lot of people are afraid to come forward and admit they have anxiety, most of the time because they fear that they will be viewed as weak. Many times they try to self medicate. Individuals with anxiety disorders are 2-3 times more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs to calm themselves. Although depressants, such as alcohol and opiates, during withdrawal states, anxiety is increased leading to an exacerbation of the anxiety disorder and making relapse to substance use more likely.
Patients with anxiety...