More often than not stress is the root cause of anxiety. Stress can be the underlying symptom of many diseases and conditions, and can ultimately lead to the onset of anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety.
Relationship issues, financial troubles, work problems, and other difficulties that one may face can all contribute to the feelings of being overly stressed, and in turn, stress can be associated with anxiety.
Anxiety symptoms can be described as the overwhelming feelings of fear and/or worry, relating to something specific. But there are also disorders of anxiety that can occur for no apparent reason and not relating to a specific cause.
It has been suggested that anxiety is the most prevalent condition in the United States. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that anxiety, together with behavioral disorders and attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is one of the easier disorders to diagnose. However, there are still millions of people who endure symptoms of an anxiety disorder without even being aware of it.
Anxiety can also be a mental health illness experienced by children. The CDC has gathered information about children in the U.S with mental illnesses, such as anxiety, by making use of surveys, like the National Survey of Children’s Health. This helps provide insight into which children have a mental disorder and if they have received treatment or not.
Among the medication that treats anxiety is alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium). These medicines are designed to help manage the symptoms of anxiety and they are not a cure for the disorder. To be cured of this ailment, the root cause of anxiety has to be identified and treated or resolved.
What Are Some of the Types of Anxiety Disorders?
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): this is one of the more prevalent anxiety disorders that involve consistent and constant worrying, in a more general sense. Unlike a phobia which may be related to a specific event or situation, GAD is a more generalized disorder that creates feelings of tension and nervousness.
- Social anxiety disorder: also known as social phobia, this anxiety disorder is characterized by fears of being in social situations because of worries of being judged or criticized. Scrutiny is an additional fear which people with this disorder find difficult to deal with, therefore preventing them from meeting new people or engaging in social activities.
- Panic disorder: these anxiety symptoms are observed as surges of intense and unexpected panic attacks, and it is because of these attacks that people with panic disorders generally live in constant fear. Those who experience this anxiety disorder often feel extremely terrified and overwhelmed.
What is the Cause of Anxiety Relating to Social Phobias?
The exact cause of anxiety relating to social situations is unknown. Though, it is thought that a combination of environmental and genetic factors may contribute to the onset of this disorder. Negative personal experiences can also be related to social anxiety and these include:
- Sexual trauma
- Being bullied
- Family or interpersonal relationship issues
Physical factors may contribute to social phobias, and an example could be an imbalance of serotonin levels in the body. This is the hormone or neurotransmitter that regulates the mood of a person.
It is believed that a person may also be genetically predisposed to anxiety but there is no conclusive evidence stating as such. However, research has pointed to a possible genetic link suggesting that this mental health condition may be hereditary.
Other ways that anxiety can run in the family include learned behavior. Children may do as they learn by watching their parents react to different situations or circumstances.
Anxiety medication can be a useful tool for the management of social phobias, in both adults and children alike.
Who Is At Risk For an Anxiety disorder?
- Anxiety disorders can affect anyone, at any age but it is most commonly prevalent among women and girls. A change in hormones, across the reproductive stages of a woman, could be a possible cause of anxiety. This can, furthermore, be associated with the changes in brain chemistry, which females tend to experience through these hormonal changes.
- Bahrami et al. (2011) conducted a cross-sectional study on high school girls and boys, in an attempt to analyze the prevalence of GAD among males and females. The sample group included 100 patients, 50 girls, and 50 boys.
- The results of the study revealed that there were significant differences with regard to the thoughts of anxiety among these genders. Thoughts relating to anxiety, such as social anxiety and health anxiety, were more common among the schoolgirls, rather than the boys, and this led to the conclusion that anxiety may be more prevalent in females than males.
How to Treat Anxiety
Behavioral therapies have been used in the past to treat anxiety but the most effective means of managing anxiety symptoms is the use of anxiety medication.
- Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines: These are psychoactive medications that are different in chemical structure but are related in terms of their mechanisms of action, risks, and side effects. Both these classes of medicines function by binding to gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, receptors so as to potentiate the inhibitory effects of the GABA neurotransmitter. An overall state of calm occurs through the functioning of these medications, and this assists in the management of symptoms of anxiety.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These anti-depressant medications are known to alter the brain chemistry of a patient. They regulate the levels of the hormones, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine; all of which are believed to regulate mood and emotions.
Medication to treat anxiety, such as the ones previously mentioned, essentially functions as tranquilizers. They tend to have dual functions of a sedative and hypnotic nature or offer dual benefits in the treatment of anxiety symptoms. However, their tranquilizing effects can become addictive, if usage and dosage guidelines are ignored.
Even though they may have a purpose, their therapeutic benefits can cause one to become dependent on them, especially when used outside the advice of a medical advisor. Dependence on these therapeutics can occur quicker than one would realize, in one week for some cases, and it is, therefore, vital to use these sedatives is recommended.
Note that patients who adhere to the instructions can reap the medication’s advantages with minimal risks of side effects and tolerance.