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Anxiety: A Disorder Or Normal Reaction To Life?

By: Jim DeSantis

Is your "anxiety" a serious disorder or just a normal reaction to the stress of living? How can you know if you need professional help? There is an Anxiety Checklist available for free.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, anxiety is the most common mental illness in America, with nearly 20% of the adult population affected. Woman are twice as likely than men to experience life disrupting general anxiety disorder or GAD.

When generalized anxiety disorder is professionally diagnosed, the usual treatment involes antidepressants and anxiolytic agents used in conjunction with other forms of therapy. However, in some people, medication can stop working because the body begins to adapt to the lower levels usually prescribed in the initial stages of treatment. This can result in periods of clinical depression and can affect general health. Doctors are challenged with finding the correct balance of medication dosage and therapuedic treatment. It is difficult as each person is an individual with inidivual needs.

There are many symptoms associated with anxiety, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, stress disorders, sleep disorders, and depression. And, because we are all unique, based upon physical and mental history, the symptoms and their intensity will vary from person to person.

If generalized anxiety disorder is particular severe, patients might find themselves with a life that has been completely sidelined. In this case, deep fears about money, work, and health overshadow everything else. Before too long, a sufferer might find him or herself unable to function in everyday activities.

Symptoms of anxiety attack include shortness of breath, chest discomfort, dizziness, fear of death, or going crazy, nausea or stomach distress, just to mention the most serious symptoms. Not all these symptoms will be present for everyone at any given time because we are all different in our mental and physical makeup.

For example, when preparing to give a speech, a normal anxiety reaction or an abnormal anxiety attack may occur. The normal person may get "butterflies in the stomach" or experience an intense fear of failure. The normal person pushes through the symptoms and gives the speech.

On the other hand, the person who experiences an anxiety attack is unable to give the speech. They are paralyzed by fear and panic. In fact, just the thought of giving a speech would cause them to refuse to even attempt it. Thus, an anxiety "reaction" is normal for ninety-five-percent of us. An anxiety attack is not for the five-percent among us.

When basic daily functioning is impacted by the anxiety disorder, and the ability to enjoy life is disrupted, a family member may need to seek advice on how to best encourage their loved one to obtain necessary help. The need for this intervention is a vital one. An anxiety disorder left untreated can easily escalate to include other mental health concerns, including depression and suicidal thoughts.

Is your "anxiety" a serious disorder or just a normal reaction to the stress of living? How can you know if you need professional help? There is an Anxiety Checklist available for free.

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