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Is it Just stress or could you have an anxiety disorder?

Updated on January 6, 2014


Anxiety is a very personal issue for many people who silently endure the symptoms every day without seeking relief. Unfortunately, if someone goes to a regular doctor and reveals that they are suffering from anxiety; the doctor is going to assume one of three things: depression, drug addiction, or that the patient is a hypochondriac. An estimated 40 million adults in America suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. These disorders are highly treatable; the problem is many people fear getting treatment due to the above mentioned factors. For some, fear of drug dependency or even ridicule is enough to stop them in their tracks from seeking help. There are many different types of anxiety disorders some of them will be listed below:

Four Types of Anxiety Disorders

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - Is characterized by obsessive thoughts; let’s say, for example, (something bad is going to happen to one of the children), and a ritualistic need or compulsion to do something about it like (waking up at night every couple of hours to check on said children). This can be manifested in many ways such as being obsessed with germs and feeling the need to scrub the already immaculate house. The obsessions usually cause anxiety, and the compulsion are the minds way of trying to get rid of it.

Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) - is often confused with OCD but is different in some ways. People with OCPD do not usually feel the need to act out their compulsions in a ritualistic sense. Sufferers of OCPD usually feel anxious when things are not right; this can lead to strict routines and rules that the sufferer enforces on themselves and their family members. People with OCPD are usually obsessed with time, relationships, cleanliness, and money. They usually have an “if one does not complete a task oneself the task will not be done properly” attitude.

Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) - is characterized by excessive unrealistic worry that lasts more than six months. Some other symptoms are trembling, muscle aches, insomnia, upset stomach, irritability, and dizziness. GAD can manifest in someone at any age from childhood into the geriatric years. People who suffer from GAD are usually eager to please others and seek constant reassurance.

Panic disorder- people who have this disorder suffer extreme attacks of panic. This may make them feel as if they can't breathe or even like they are about to have a heart attack, for no apparent reason. Some symptoms are chest pain, heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, and feeling as if they are choking. Sufferers may be afraid they are going to die. At times, a panic attack may come on purely because the person is afraid of having another attack. Sometimes people with this disorder lock themselves in their home afraid if they leave they may have an attack in public.

Natural Anxiety Remedies

The conventional treatment methods are medication, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and behavior modification. If these are not an option for one reason or another or if there is a desire to try something else along with the traditional treatments some suggestions are:

  • Herbal medications such as Saint John’s Wort are well known to promote a positive mood. The suggested dose is usually two 300 milligram doses three times a day. A doctor should always be consulted before starting this supplement because it cannot be taken with certain medications.

  • Herbal teas and chamomile are used in many cultures for their calming effect. This combined with daily meditation can greatly reduce stress. Some say that to relieve anxiety related insomnia; one should spend twenty minutes daily meditating, on worrisome thoughts, to get them all out. After the allotted time has passed one should leave the thoughts behind and relax with a cup of soothing herbal tea.

  • Magnesium supplements are useful if for people who suffer from muscle spasms because it is a natural muscle relaxer.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine these tend to make anxiety worse. Many people use alcohol because it is a natural depressant and it does help alleviate the stress for the moment. However, the problem is when the person wakes up the next day the stress is still there. Moreover, the alcohol has robbed their body of nutrients and electrolytes which can in turn increase the intensity of the anxiety.

  • Eating a diet rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium which are depleted under stress.

  • Learn relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy, meditation, and yoga breathing exercise. Exercise daily by taking walks, participating in a sport, or going outside and simply having fun.

  • Be sure to get enough rest. When the body does not get enough sleep it is not well equipped to cope with stressful situations.

  • Simplify life as much as possible. If twelve dozen cookies will take too much time and energy to bake for the neighborhood bake sale, say so. Do not take on any more than is comfortable.

In conclusion, with forty million people suffering from anxiety, this is not a rare problem. The problem lies in the way people ,with anxiety, are treated. They are afraid that they will be labeled as weak, crazy, or an addict if they ever voiced their suffering. With so many treatment options out there, people should not have to be afraid to get help. If you believe that you may have an anxiety disorder you are not crazy; never feel as if you’re alone in this fight. My name is Lisa Williams, and I am not afraid to announce that I suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Do you or some one you know suffer from an anxiety disorder?

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    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Chronister 5 years ago from Florida

      Joe, Thanks for your kind reply!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Lisa!

      I like the fact that you are closer to accepting yourself and knowing who you are than I was in my young adulthood. It's admirable that two of the things you do so well to cope with anxiety disorder is that you: 1) aren't afraid to admit it; and 2) utilize your wonderful writing as a catharsis. Like you, I enjoy walking and writing because both are ways in which my soul takes a shower. And if the soul's clean, all else is good. Thanks for sharing this powerful article, and I look forward to reading more of your work as time goes by. Aloha!


    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Chronister 8 years ago from Florida

      I beleive the answer to your question is a yes. this is a controversial concept. one of the causes of GAD would be that neurotransmitters in your brain are not firing correctly. these disturbances are not due to substance abuse,a direct medical condition , or a phsychotic disorder. In my opinion this disorder has a strong emotional component. thank you for your coment.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      In my life time, I can recall at least 3 instances where I've had a panic attack.  The best way to probably describe them without exaggerating is that they are minor heart attacks.  By the way, are GADs psychosomatic?  They sound like they are.  Thanks for the hub.