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Lethal Anxiety Disorders That Ruin Mental Health

Updated on May 18, 2016
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Lethal Effects of Anxiety Disorders

Why Is Anxiety Lethal?

Anxiety is generally seen as a type of mental state that everyone experiences at one time or another. We've heard of being anxious before, so this is nothing new.

However what happens when that anxious feeling doesn't end and begins to bleed into daily life.

Now you're dealing with an anxiety disorder instead of it being a temporary mental state. This disorder may also be the result of an existing psychological illness with depression, including the causes of depression as the most common existing psychological disorder.

Anxiety is broken down into several categories with varying levels of intensity and triggers, and people often suffer from more than one type.

  • The first is panic disorder, which is the result of recurring panic attacks that are usually sudden and feel like you're being stabbed by thousands of knives at once. Your heart starts beating rapidly, you begin to experience excess sweating, and it feels like someone's choking you to death.

Indeed, panic disorder is what uncontrolled anxiety can sometimes lead to and that in itself makes the victim feel helpless and vulnerable.

  • The second type is social anxiety disorder, which is exactly what it sounds like. People with this disorder don't function well when placed in an unfamiliar social setting. The key here is the worry factor.

People with this disorder are always self-conscious about everything they do, they worry constantly about being judged, and they fear embarrassment and persecution from the public.

It's a debilitating disorder because it doesn't go away easily if ever, and even the simplest thing like going to the supermarket feels like an impossible challenge.

  • The third type is generalized anxiety disorder, which is once again exactly what it sounds like. It's a broad sense of worry or tension that people experience about anything. It can be sudden, and there doesn't have to be a stimulant to provoke such an irrational, anxious feeling.

Finally we dive into phobias, which is a fear of a specified situation or object such as heights, insects, loud noises, small spaces, and literally anything else. There are terms for almost any kind of specified fear but the ones mentioned are often the most common.

No matter which specified form of anxiety you suffer from, they are all very paralyzing and can hamper everyday life. They may not be lethal in the physical sense, but those suffering will certainly feel like they're being ripped from the inside.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Type of Anxiety
Definition
Symptoms
General
Excessive overall worry/tension
Fatigue, restlessness, irritability, changes in sleep cycle or personality
Social
Excess worry/fear of embarrassment in social situations
Avoid social situations, intense anxiety, upset stomach, shaking, sweating
Panic Disorder
Recurrent panic attacks or irrational fear of future panic attacks
Sweating, palpitations, chest pain, choking sensation, pounding heart beat
Phobic
Specific and excessive fear of object/situation
Avoidance, distress, nausea, irrational fear, diarrhea
Source: http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders

Irrational Fear

Source

Cause of Irrational Fear

It's not that hard to figure out what causes anxiety and what we can do to prevent it.

I have found a bunch of information regarding the causes, and they range from hereditary to environmental and are even linked to one specific event.

The consensus, however, is that It's usually a collection of factors that cause anxiety with an emphasis on factors that affect your brain chemistry like your neurotransmitters.

They are usually out or sorts compared to regular people, and may need to be treated with various medications.

As someone who suffers from social anxiety, I can say that I think differently than "normal" people. It's really easy for a relative or a friend to tell you to stop worrying and not to stress about anything, but there's no switch that exists in my mind where I can turn off those feelings.

  • In fact, stress plays a major role, but it goes hand in hand with worry.

The more I worry, the more I'm stressed out and vice versa, and neither can be easily controlled. A lot of people suffer from the same problems, which is why anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in the world. In the U.S. millions of Americans suffer from this disorder but through varying levels of intensity.

Most people can say they have an anxiety disorder because they have stage fright or get anxious during a speech, but that's not going to destroy your life. Those people either suffer from a minor case of anxiety or are perfectly normal. For those with more severe cases, it becomes impossible dealing with common events because the fear consumes you.

  • Anxiety doesn't just happen out of the blue; it starts out from childhood and gradually intensifies into adulthood.

Parents who immediately tackle this disorder will find that their children are more likely to grow out of it as they become adults. However, those parents who ignore the problem will discover their now adult children suffering daily.

I mentioned that the causes are a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and indeed studies show that families who suffer from anxiety disorder are more likely to pass it down to newer generations. There are also other factors that might come into play that intensify the risks.

Mixing Alcohol With Anxiety

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Deadly Combination

The most dangerous thing that can come out of having an anxiety disorder is the possible additive of alcohol abuse.

People with social anxiety, in particular, have a false belief that drinking alcohol will alleviate their problem, however; the problem often becomes far more life threatening. Usually the disorder comes first and then the alcohol abuse begins after.

You can also include drug abuse into the mix, and the combination of those substances and your disorder greatly increases the risk at long term mental and physical damage as well as possible death.

There's also an increased chance of comorbidity, which means you may pick up additional disorders in the process. Those who suffer from panic disorder will find that their problem will only intensify with the use of hazardous substances, and it definitely won't fix recurring issues.

The only real way to fix their problem is to either seek counseling, apply self treatment, or use prescribed medication for the disorder/s.

Effects of PTSD

PTSD Help With Animals

Diagnosing PTSD

Being fearful after getting robbed or experiencing a natural disorder is a normal response and is not tied in with anxiety disorder.

  • However, PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder can appear if the fear and worry doesn't wear off after a tragic event.

Those with this disorder may experience months of irrational fear, nightmares, palpitations, and other stress related factors well after the traumatic event.

We often hear of soldiers who go through this as shown by the movie American Sniper. Again, the best way to get through it is through counseling or prescribed medications proven to tackle the disorder.

People who already suffer from a physical illness such as a heart condition, asthma, or other infections are at a greater risk for developing an anxiety disorder and will need to be carefully monitored. I spoke about substance abuse before, but I forgot to mention how those in rehab suffering from withdrawals can also develop symptoms of anxiety.

The way anxiety disorder is diagnosed has to be done accurately because if it's not done correctly, then it could cause more damage than before. There are specified parameters in the DSM-5 that dictate how long and how severe the problem has to be before it is diagnosed.

The diagnosis is performed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, and they'll perform a series of physical and mental tests to see if you fit the criteria. They'll also search your familial and personal history to possibly link your disorder to past events, substance use, or genetic linkage.

The common criteria for the disorder is usually irrational fear or distress in unfamiliar situations persisting for six or more months causing disorder in daily lives. The criteria varies among the types of disorders, and I'll include links for each of them in case you're interested.

Please note there are other disorders stemming from anxiety that I haven't touched on including separation anxiety and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). I'll try to highlight them in the future as there is so much information on those two topics alone.

How to Cure Anxiety

Seeking treatment through counseling
Seeking treatment through counseling | Source

Is There a Cure?

I can get into the various treatments and solutions available, but there are so many that it'll take a long time to address them all.

I can only speak for myself that I have yet to receive treatment for my anxiety disorder, but I know they're out there. They range from medicines like Diazepam (Valium) and Alprazolam (Xanax) to self help treatments, and then of course there's counseling with either a psychologist or psychiatrist.

With so much available, you'd think everyone would be treated in an instant and anxiety wouldn't be a problem, but it's never that easy.

  • It can take months if not years to alleviate moderate to severe anxiety through a combination of self treatment, medication, and counseling.

It becomes even more of a challenge when there are other illnesses and disorders that you suffer with such as alcohol abuse. You want to try to treat everything at once but the more problems you have, the more difficult it becomes.

Ultimate success lies within individuals willing to fight. They need to be able to take the proper precautions and steps in order to gain control of their anxiety. Since anxiety disorder usually begins at an early age, parents need to be proactive and seek treatment for their children before it becomes too late.

Children are far more capable of treatment than adults are, and many times adults suffering with moderate to severe anxiety will never be able to completely absolve their disease. The medication is primarily used to treat the symptoms of the disorder, and it's not a vaccine that will cure you and prevent it from ever occurring again.

The bottom line is those who have the worst case of anxiety suffer everyday and while it may not kill them physically, it feels like someone's killing them from the inside. I'm a victim of this disorder and I know what it feels like. I also know a lot of normal people who will never understand the daily challenges I go through.

The battle lies with us; and eventually we'll need to control and stop the killer within or we might as well already be dead.

Do You Suffer From Any Anxiety Disorder?

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am an anxious person and I want everything just to be right but I am slowly getting out of it given our lifestyle. When you're travelling all the time, things are never perfect so it kicks me out of it.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      There are things people do to treat anxiety themselves and facing it directly is one of the best ways to combat it.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder nearly 20 years ago after spending time in the mental health unit. Because I had depression as well, I was treated with medications that helped both. Since then, however, I have learned self-management techniques that have enabled me to be medication free. It has been long in coming, but is a welcome relief. The side affects of some of the medications were somewhat troublesome.

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, Chris; an excellent overview and thank you. Many of us have one or more of the diagnoses you describe. My panic disorder manifested in an inability to go anywhere publicly for more than three years. For six months, I could only go to antique stores with my mother. Although I worked, I could do little else.

      Abusing Benzos and combining that with alcohol landed me in substance abuse treatment in 1988. (Pre-history of addiction, not blaming the medication; they are effective for some who do not abuse them)

      One of my greatest fears leaving treatment was a recurrence of the panic. I have no explanation, but the panic did not return. I still get somewhat apprehensive in new social situations but like Denise have learned some self-regulating exercises that I use before I go. I also use meditation and guided imagery to relax.

      Again, thank you, and I hope that you find more relief for yourself. ~Marilyn

      One of my greatest fears leaving treatment was a reoccurance of the panic

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Fantastic stories though devastating to hear. I'm happy you are able to pull through Denise. The panic attacks are troublesome to hear about and I've never experienced them. I'm so sorry about what you've gone through it must be so difficult just fearing the worst. Thank you for reading about this topic and I wish you all well. I appreciate reading about what you've went through because I know a lot of people have multiple cases of anxiety and they are afraid to speak out. Good evening to you all and good luck..

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