Family issues, stress at work, the pandemic, unemployment, health problems, and now the menace of war, are all reasons to feel anxious. To a certain point, anxiety can prove beneficial, because it can motivate us to be more alert and more focused on achieving our goals. If anxiety turns into a permanent worry regarding everyday situations, it can become hard to control and interfere with daily activities.
Certain symptoms, like a sensation of restlessness, being nervous all the time, having an increased heart rate, feeling tired or weak, having gastrointestinal problems, having a sensation of impending danger, trembling, having trouble sleeping, are indicative of anxiety.
There are specific risk factors that can lead to the development of anxiety. A serious stressful situation or a series of smaller stressful situations can lead to the apparition of anxiety. For example financial worries, combined with family issues, stress at work and the sudden death of a relative can together lead to the apparition of this condition. Traumatic events are also triggers for the development of anxiety. Having a certain illness can lead to worry and a sudden worsening of symptoms can trigger this disorder. Another category of people prone to developing anxiety is represented by those who have blood relatives with the condition, people who suffer from mental diseases, and those who have certain types of personality. Individuals who suffer from avoidant types of personality, borderline, obsessive-compulsive, or dependent types of personality are especially prone to developing such problems. Drugs and alcohol misuse or withdrawal can also lead to the apparition of symptoms.
If left untreated, anxiety can lead to more severe conditions, such as insomnia, digestive problems, substance misuse, chronic pain or headaches, social isolation, problems at work and school, poor life quality and can even result in suicide.
For these reasons, it is important to prevent, if possible, the development of anxiety, and if you already have the symptoms, try to treat them. It is difficult sometimes to predict which situations will result in the development of anxiety. In other situations the events leading to the development of such a condition are unavoidable. For example, the victim of a violent crime can do little to prevent the triggering event for her anxiety, that is the crime itself. Nevertheless what the victim does afterward is very important in reducing the anxiety symptoms she will later feel. Getting police help asap and prosecuting and punishing the criminal will help her reduce the feeling of fear which is a normal part of the posttraumatic stress resulting from the attack. In such cases being active and not succumbing to fear is more important than the use of medicine or therapy to treat the anxiety that results from the crime.
Sometimes anxiety leads to social isolation. The person might feel safer within their home and avoid social interaction. Yet, being active and interacting with family and friends might help, since it can reduce worries and make the person forget some of their problems, simply because interacting socially keeps a person busy and redirects their thoughts towards more optimistic issues.
People who suffer from anxiety tend to abuse alcohol or drugs. This is definitely not recommended, because it worsens the problems. Trying to quit those habits can lead to withdrawal symptoms and these can make anxiety worse. In this case, it is recommended to contact a support group or a doctor. Nicotine and caffeine can worsen the symptoms of anxiety, too. Therefore also try to cut back on these habits. Exercising reduces stress and also the symptoms of anxiety because it helps the body produce endorphins. These are neurotransmitters, and they induce a sensation of relaxation and calm and therefore fight anxiety very efficiently.