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Okay here’s the truth. Anxiety is a normal part of life. 

Everyone experiences it in some shape or form. 

But if you experience it on a daily basis, if it makes you avoid certain life situations or if it  makes it hard for you to live your life that’s when its a problem.

The onset is sudden and unexpected at times. Sometimes you may not know you even feel anxious about certain situations until you are experiencing it. And it can peak within minutes (e.g. panic attacks).

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Symptoms of anxiety can start at any point of your life – childhood, teenage years or adulthood.

Sometimes I feel people use the word ‘anxious’ too much and it becomes unclear if whether  what they are actually feeling is anxiety or stress. 

In this post I want to help you understand what anxiety is, what can cause it and what it can feel like – in order to help you recognize it within yourself and in others to know when it’s time to seek professional help.

So let’s begin. 

WHAT IS ANXIETY?

Anxiety is a feeling of frequent, intense or disproportionate worry, fear or distress about certain situations. It can be about special events like public speaking or going on stage or it can even be about daily events like talking to new people or catching a bus. 

There is usually an underlying cause or emotional trigger behind anxiety and understanding that trigger is the first step to successful treatment. 

WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?

As mentioned above anxiety can be caused by a wide range of scenarios, events and triggers. 

These include:

Health issues: People who have heart conditions or other medical issues or medical worries may find themselves feeling anxious because of their fear of death and being a burden to others.

– Drug usage: People who constantly use drugs and mind altering substances may feel anxious when they are not on it, and may use it as a coping mechanism, as the brain forgets how to deal with situations without the help of the drug.

-Alcohol usage: Similar to drug usage people use alcohol to cope with situations and eventually the brain grows more and more dependent on larger and larger quantities of alcohol to deal with the simplest of situations. 

-Financial worries: People who have to take care of families, have a low-paying job, live in expensive cities, have extravagant spending habits, have a tough time managing money etc are often under a lot of pressure to make ends meet. This can also lead to a lot of anxiety.  

– Social pressures: People may find it really difficult to talk to new people, talk to groups, go to events, and may choose to spend time alone rather put themselves in situations that make them anxious, because of past insecurities and experiences .

– Work stress: Heavy workloads, multiple projects with no extra help, vicious deadlines, long work hours, lack of holidays and breaks can also make people feel really anxious about going to work, being at work or performing at work.

The main reason I have understood over time for anxiety to arise, is that your brain is in survival mode. People who suffer from anxiety are always in a state of fight or flight because you assume things are always going to go wrong for you or that you don’t deserve good things in your life.

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WHAT DOES ANXIETY FEEL LIKE

Anxiety may feel different to everybody. But there are a few common symptoms that have been observed in people across the globe after years of research.

These include:

Shortness of breath, sweating, redness in face, shivering or trembling, nausea, diarrhea or stomach churning, headaches, backaches, tense muscles, heart palpitations etc.

In some cases because of the physiological symptoms of anxiety, people may not recognize what it is and may think it is a physical illness. Some people may even feel like they are having a heart attack. 

In extremely worrisome or fear inducing situations, anxiety may develop into panic attacks which can last for upto 30 minutes.

WHEN DOES ANXIETY BECOME A PROBLEM OR WHEN SHOULD YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR:

Anxiety becomes a real problem when it interferes with your daily life, when there is no imminent threat present. It can also be a serious problem if it keeps happening frequently, like a couple of times a day, every day, every week or monthly. 

  • If the events or thoughts lead to disproportionate feelings or panic attacks, that’s when you should visit the doctor. 
  • If your fear and worry is affecting your daily life, work and relationships
  • If you are not able to control your fear and worry
  • If you are prone to alcohol or drug use or have any mental health conditions and tend to feel anxious often
  • If your anxiety may be linked to a physical health problem
  • If you are having suicidal thoughts

In any of these cases visit the doctor immediately. 

PEOPLE MAY EXPERIENCE OR DEVELOP ANXIETY…

  • If they experienced trauma or traumatic event as a child or as adults
  • If they are suffering from a physical illness, injury
  • If they have to plan or be a part of a big event or something important happening in the future
  • If they have a Type A personality in which case they are more prone to getting stressed out
  • If they have other mental health disorders
  • If they have blood relatives with anxiety disorder
  • If they have trouble with misuse or withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or drug use

HOW BAD CAN ANXIETY GET

If anxiety is not treated in time or given enough attention it can lead to serious issues that are even more difficult to treat and manage.

Anxiety can lead to depression, substance abuse, insomnia, digestive or excretory troubles, social isolation, inability cope with school or work, headaches, chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, and worst of all suicide. 

FIN

With this we come to the end of our post on anxiety. 

I hope you have a better understanding of what anxiety is, where it comes from and what it feels like. 

If you are suffering from any of the mild symptoms, you may want to consider reading up about anxiety treatment exercises or watch helpful YouTube videos. 

But if you feel like you will not be able to cope with it on your own do not hesitate to take  the help of a professional.

If you would like to know more about how your coping mechanisms could be affecting you, click here.

Anxiety can be treated. Anxiety can be overcome. 

Do not think you have to let it control you for you for the rest of your life. That is simply not true. 

No matter how bad it gets, you have the strength to overcome it, I promise. 

P.S. It would really be super duper helpful to me if you could , follow @thepurpleglitchblog on Instagram for more helpful content and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. 

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Links:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961#:~:text=A%20big%20event%20or%20a,Other%20mental%20health%20disorders.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7603#when-is-anxiety-a-problem

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