It’s natural to worry about financial problems, an exam, or moving to another country. But if worries about and without grow like a snowball, turn into fears, begin to interfere with your normal life and you can’t cope with them, it seems that anxiety disorder develops. According to the WHO, 264 million people in the world have anxiety disorder (there are more women among them). Fortunately, unlike some other mental illnesses, it can be cured. One of the most effective methods is cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.
How anxiety disorder occurs is not fully understood, according to Mayo Clinic experts. Various factors affect: from genetic predisposition and psychological trauma experienced in childhood to the use of alcohol and certain medications. People with anxiety disorder complain about a variety of things, from stomach problems to feeling impossibly tired. According to some estimates , there are about a hundred possible symptoms of the disease. We have selected the most common ones.
Your concern is disproportionate to
Increased anxiety differs from normal anxiety in that it is intrusive, negatively affects the quality of life and disrupts a person’s daily activities. In addition, to be considered a symptom of a disorder, anxiety must appear regularly for six months and become more difficult to control each day. At the same time, the level of anxiety does not reflect the seriousness of the situation that caused it. Severe anxiety is provoked, among other things, by completely ordinary things, for example, the obsession with an unplugged iron (which is actually turned off) or pillows that are somehow not properly laid.
You are physically ill
Anxiety disorder has signs associated with a deterioration of not only emotional, but also physical condition: dizziness, dry mouth, increased sweating, heart palpitations, nausea, headache. All these unpleasant symptoms are the result of overloading the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates breathing, digestion and blood circulation. The brain, having learned about the danger (it does not understand whether it is real or not), prepares the body for a stressful situation – in case a person has to fight or run away. With a real threat, such a reaction of the body is really necessary, but with an imaginary one, these effects will only harm – they will continue to bother you until the anxiety goes away.
It is a bad idea to diagnose yourself with anxiety disorder based on these symptoms alone. They can be symptoms of other diseases, so it is best to see a doctor and talk about your complaints. If a specialist determines that nausea, high blood pressure, and malaise are not caused by physical health problems, it is worth contacting a psychotherapist.
You get tired quickly
Fatigue is associated with the release of cortisol (a stress hormone) in response to anxiety caused by real or imagined problems. Cortisol prompts the brain to get rid of the source of the anxiety, but in an anxiety disorder it is often unclear what triggered the anxiety. Subsequently, the brain gets tired of working under the pressure of this hormone, especially when it happens almost every day, and this gives rise to a general feeling of fatigue. In theory, fatigue could be a consequence of other symptoms of an anxiety disorder – insomnia or muscle tension – but so far scientists have not found evidence of this.
Of course, anxiety disorder is not diagnosed on the basis of fatigue alone, because it is a common symptom of many diseases, including depression and hypothyroidism . The treatment of all these conditions is different, therefore, the diagnosis must be approached carefully, taking into account the whole complex of complaints and symptoms.
You can’t sit still
Patients describe this state of anxiety as “an irresistible urge to move.” Anxiety disorder is common among children and adolescents , and restlessness is common among them. In a study of the behavior of 128 children with this diagnosis, scientists found that 74% of the participants were worried about the symptom. For comparison: 70% of people experience abdominal pain, and 45% suffer from increased sweating. Parents may consider this behavior normal, but if the bursts of activity are repeated almost every day for six months, this is a reason to visit a therapist.
You have trouble concentrating
Have you been complaining about poor concentration for a long time and trying to solve the issue with the help of books on self-development and self-discipline? Surely the authors of such works will say that the point is laziness, unwillingness to move forward or dislike for work. Sometimes good enough motivation is enough for things to change – but it could be anxiety disorder as well. A study of 157 children with increased anxiety found that more than two-thirds of them had difficulty concentrating. In another study of 175 adults with anxiety disorder, researchers found that 90% of participants complain of low concentration, and the more anxious they get, the worse their concentration.
Anxiety attacks can decrease productivity and negatively affect working memory. Working, or operational, memory helps to store information while a person uses it (it must be borne in mind that working and short-term memory are not the same thing ). And, of course, anxiety disorder isn’t the only reason that gets in the way of doing routine at work or remembering who you just called. Memory and concentration problems are also considered signs of attention deficit disorder and depression.
You are irritable
Irritability arises from the fact that the nervous system becomes hypersensitive to everything that happens, and not because you have a bad temper. A sharp reaction to things that would not have unsettled you before is a characteristic sign of increased anxiety. A study last year found that more than 90% of 6,166 participants experience extreme hot temper during periods of exacerbation of the disease.
Controlling emotions is difficult, but you can try to learn it. Take a deep breath and analyze what irritates you or under what circumstances it happens. Taking time out or limiting communication with the trigger person can help prevent mood swings. And if anxiety disorder is the basis of irritability, then this symptom should disappear as it is treated.
Your muscles are constantly tense
Muscle tension as a symptom of anxiety disorder is poorly understood . But why it occurs is known: the body reacts to stress by contraction of muscles, preparing for any development of events (suddenly you have to run). In the case of an anxiety disorder, there is no need to run anywhere, but the muscles remain tense. It manifests itself in different ways: clenching of the jaw or fists, muscle pain, spasms, clamps. Sometimes the discomfort reaches the point that a person cannot get out of bed and to alleviate the situation, you need to take medication.
According to Sally Winston, PhD in Psychology and co-director of the Institute for Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Maryland, USA), physical activity helps control muscle tension. The main thing in this matter is regularity, otherwise it will become more difficult to cope with new bouts of anxiety and pain. Relaxation techniques can also help reduce muscle tension – relaxation therapy has generally been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorder.
It is not unusual to toss and turn around midnight before a keynote speech or appointment to a new position. But if it happens over and over again – even for no apparent reason – chances are that you have an anxiety disorder. Most often, people with this diagnosis complain that they do not fall asleep well or wake up in the middle of the night. In the morning they get up broken and, not having time to get out of bed, they only think about how to go to bed as soon as possible – and so on in a circle.
Scientists have repeatedly stated the link between insomnia and anxiety disorder. It is not yet clear what is the cause and what is the effect. Most likely, they affect each other , that is, the disorder induces insomnia and vice versa. So, at King’s College London, they conducted a study – it turned out that insomnia in childhood provokes the development of the disorder in the future. Sleep disturbance is not only dangerous for this: according to the American Association for the Study of Anxiety and Depression Disorders, this problem can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity. But there is a way out: for example, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps to get rid of both anxiety disorder and insomnia, according to Canadian scientists.
Phobia is a separate type of anxiety disorder; it is an irrational fear of specific objects or situations, such as snakes (herpetophobia) or flying in an airplane (aerophobia). If the fear becomes overwhelming, destructive and out of proportion to the actual risk, this is a clear sign of a phobic disorder. A person understands that there are no objective reasons to be afraid, but he cannot control himself. Phobias complicate and spoil life, often influencing the choice: for example, because of the fear of flying, a person denies himself travel to the countries where he dreams of visiting, or spends the weekend watching TV, and not in the forest with friends, fearing insects.
Another type of anxiety disorder is another phobia – fear of society, or social anxiety disorder . With such a disease, people are afraid that others may condemn, humiliate, reject or negatively evaluate their actions, feel anxiety or fear before events where there will be many guests, or avoid them altogether. When in public, a person with a social phobia worries about every step and word he takes, begins to blush, stumble – and feels even worse due to the fact that the situation cannot be controlled. Social phobia is a fairly common problem. Only in America, she has at 15 million people, but few of them seek professional help.
You are a perfectionist
It’s okay to make mistakes, analyze, try to avoid them in the future and move on. Condemn, scold yourself, be afraid not to meet someone’s standards and expectations – no. The pursuit of excellence through self-flagellation threatens emotional health problems: Scientists have already established a link between perfectionism and anxiety disorder, where illness is a consequence.
Perfectionists are convinced that you need to be perfect in everything – this applies not only to personal and professional qualities, but to any little things: from polished tiles to a squeak in the bathroom to books arranged alphabetically on the shelf. But usually the result does not bring pleasure, the person begins to reproach himself for what he could have done better – and undertakes to redo everything, not understanding how and when to stop. Doctor of Psychology Kataria Mokryu in this case advises setting a timer for two hours – when they expire, stop, no matter how you feel and how well you completed the task. Try this life hack first at home and then at work – this way you will begin not only to save time, but also to control your actions.
We are used to searching online for ANSWERS TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ASKED US . In the new series of materials, we ask just such questions: burning, unexpected or common – to professionals in various fields.
While the pointlessness and danger of hard restrictions and mono diets are obvious to many, then “scientifically based” diets are often tempting. Everyone has learned that extreme restrictions can lead to a decrease in metabolism – the more attractive it seems to be ways to “speed up” the metabolism by switching to certain foods, taking supplements or simply eating small meals, but often. Do these methods work? Is it possible to force the body to burn more without changing physical activity? We asked these questions to an expert.
Our body works like a laboratory in which processes of decay, destruction – catabolic reactions, and processes of synthesis, construction, accumulation – anabolic reactions take place. They are influenced by catabolic and anabolic hormones, are in dynamic equilibrium and together constitute metabolism – metabolism. To put it simply, metabolism is a series of chemical transformations in each cell, through which the food we eat is converted into energy.
That part of the energy we have received, which is spent on the work of internal organs and systems, refers to the main exchange : this is the largest expenditure item – 50–70%. Energy is needed for the brain to think, the liver to detoxify poisons, the kidneys to filter urine. It turns out that we spend most of our energy without doing anything specifically for this. The main exchange takes place autonomously – independently of our will and consciousness.
We also spend energy on digesting and absorbing food – this is called the thermal effect of food , it accounts for about 10% of the total amount of energy received. Energy expenditure depends on the composition of the food eaten: the least calories are spent on assimilating fats, most of all on protein foods. The third component of the energy budget is physical activity. This is not only sports, but, for example, maintaining a posture – absolutely everything we do using muscles. This is the most variable indicator – 10-30%, and even more among athletes and people engaged in hard physical labor.
At the same time, the basic metabolism of different people is not the same: if you collect a dozen people who live on 2000 kcal per day, then their basic metabolism can be from 1000 to 1400 kcal. This (or even greater) gap depends on various factors, including the activity of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, which regulates basal metabolism, and also on the surface area of the body (the greater the height and weight, the more energy is needed) and the ratio of muscle and adipose tissue in the body. The metabolically active tissues – muscles – need more energy. Women have a lower basal metabolic rate than men, and this cannot be explained by a higher percentage of fat alone ; in the second (luteal) phase of the menstrual cycle, the basal metabolism is usually more active.
In addition to thyroxine, there are other molecules that affect basal metabolism: in particular, stress hormones make us use energy more actively. With age, the basal metabolism slows down , every ten years by several percent – in part, this is due to the fact that a person becomes less mobile and loses muscle tissue. When there is a lack of calories during the diet, the body adapts to the lack of energy, also reducing the basal metabolic rate.