Anxiety is a natural human reaction to stressful events and situations, but when it is unreasonable or interferes with a person's day to day activities, it might be something more serious. Here are some interesting facts about anxiety disorders.
Females Have a Heightened Chance of Developing Anxiety Disorders
Women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder as men. Scientists believe that female hormones and brain chemistry make women more susceptible to stress and anxiety than men. Women also process serotonin, the chemical that regulates mood, at a slower rate than men.
There are Many Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders
The term "anxiety disorder" actually refers to a broad category of numerous specific mental illnesses. These illnesses all have anxiety in common, but the source of the anxiety and the way dread manifests differs among the disorders in this category.
Some of the most common mental illnesses that are classified as anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder;
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder;
- Panic disorder;
- Social anxiety disorder; and
- Specific phobias.
There are Many Different Types of Anxiety Disorder Medications
Anxiety medications have been around since the early 20th century. Today, the most commonly-prescribed anti-anxiety medications are classified as "benzodiazepines." Originally praised for their muscle-relaxing properties, benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that slow down the brain's neurotransmitters responsible for increasing stress and anxiety. These drugs are so frequently prescribed because they are metabolized quickly in the body. They can be prescribed for daily use or for as-needed purposes.
Tricyclic anti-depressants are another category of anti-anxiety medications. These medications also target the neurotransmitters, but often have more side effects than benzodiazepines. Originally developed to treat depression, these are often great choices because many people diagnosed with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, comprise yet another class of anti-anxiety medications. These drugs increase serotonin levels in the brain and are thought to be more effective than tricyclic anti-depressants. They are not without side effects, however, and can even increase anxiety if incorrectly prescribed.
Finally, many doctors prescribe beta blockers to treat anxiety symptoms. Interestingly enough, beta blockers are traditionally prescribed for certain heart conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks, and irregular heart beats. Beta blockers effectively address heart conditions because they inhibit adrenaline, which in turn slows down heart rate. The adrenaline-blocking properties of beta blockers also make this class of drugs effective in anxiety treatment plans.
Anxiety Can Sometimes be Managed Without Medication
There are many ways that people suffering from an anxiety disorder can manage symptoms. Some of the most effective ways to treat anxiety without a prescription include:
- Exercise, which increases not only brain neurons that slow down the neurotransmitters, but also brain cells located in the emotion-regulating part of the brain;
- Mindset changes, like viewing dreaded situations differently, engaging in motivational self-talk, and pausing before making impulse judgments about people or situations; and
- Meditation, which increases a person's sense of self awareness and self-control, mindfulness, and attention span.
People with Anxiety Disorders Have a Heightened Sense of Smell
When anxiety levels increase, that person's sense of smell is altered. Good smells are less enjoyable, neutral smells stink, and bad odors are downright nauseating. Healthy people only experience this phenomenon only in times of dread, but people suffering from an anxiety disorder experience a world that truly does stink. For more information, talk to professionals from places like Psychological Associates of PA.