Understanding Anxiety; A Review of What Anxiety Is

Although there is not a clear definition of what causes anxiety disorders, there are a series of risk factors associated with anxiety (Mayo Clinic, 2018). The largest indicator of anxiety has been seen to be related to trauma. When traumatic events occur, it has been associated with increased risk of development of an anxiety related disorder. These include events like physical or sexual abuse, death of a parent/sibling, bullying, exposure of violence, etc. Similarly, when one struggles with other mental health disorders or substance abuse, anxiety is more likely to present itself as well as mental health struggles are usually intersectional. Lastly, when anxiety is prevalent in those who you are blood related to, it has been shown that it puts yourself at a higher risk for the disease as well.  

Symptoms of anxiety appear in many different forms, including physically, emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally (Craske & Stein, 2016). Increased heart rate, fast breathing, perspiration, trembling or shaking, muscle tension, and digestive problems such as stomachaches or nausea are all possible physiological signs. These physical manifestations reflect the body's reaction to the "fight-or-flight" response, which occurs when a person senses a threat or danger. Anxiety's cognitive symptoms include frequent and intrusive thoughts that are difficult to manage. Excessive worry, fear of the worst-case scenario, a sense of impending doom, or an obsession with negative prospects may be the root of these thoughts. An ongoing feeling of nervousness or unease, irritability, restlessness, and a sense of being on edge are all examples of emotional symptoms. Anxiety can also cause dread, a fear of losing control, or a fear of becoming unstable. Some people have regular panic attacks, which are strong times of overpowering terror accompanied by physical symptoms including chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom. 

Symptoms of anxiety can be hard to manage, but thankfully there are many different forms of treatment for those struggling. These treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, support groups, lifestyle changes, and other natural remedies. The most common treatment for anxiety is CBT and being prescribed medication. Normally, those struggling with anxiety will not just receive one treatment form. This includes undergoing CBT, being prescribed a or multiple medications to ease anxiety and trying their best to implement new lifestyle changes like cutting out caffeine or exercising regularly.  

Anxiety disorders can significantly impact a person's daily life, causing intense fear and interfering with their ability to function. While the exact causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood, various risk factors, such as trauma, comorbid mental health conditions, substance abuse, and familial predisposition, have been associated with their development. 

Symptoms of anxiety can manifest physically, emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally, often leading to physiological reactions, intrusive thoughts, emotional distress, and even panic attacks. Fortunately, there are multiple treatment options available to help manage anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication are commonly used, often in combination, to address the underlying causes and symptoms of anxiety disorders. Support groups, lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, exposure therapy, and mindfulness-based interventions can also provide additional support and relief. 

It is important for individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety to seek professional help from mental health providers who can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan. With appropriate interventions and support, individuals can learn effective coping strategies, reduce the impact of anxiety on their lives, and improve their overall well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, you can utilize our free incognito therapy at www.bridge2help.com or attend our September 22nd Angst event surrounding anxiety education.  



American Psychiatric Association. (2020, November). What Is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Psychiatry.org; American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd 

PTSD Resources - Cpl. Chad Eric Oligschlaeger Foundation For PTSD. (2021, September 12). Cpl. Chad Eric Oligschlaeger Foundation for PTSD . https://www.cplchado.org/ptsd-resources/?gad=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw4s-kBhDqARIsAN-ipH1ZLzD4lpi1VT1P-DnoXFLQdAFWDLftdoLuL4QwM15xjgCx6B_3AlkaAmKJEALw_wcB 

Revelant, J. (2018, April 17). PTSD Stigma: Why It Exists and What We Can Do About It | Everyday Health. EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/ptsd/ptsd-stigma/