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Stress and Anxiety 101: What is Anxiety?

It is normal for every person to experience anxiety attacks, especially during stressful situations and traumatic events in life. As health experts say, anxiety is a typical response of person's body that signals possible dangers ahead. However, when anxiety becomes extreme to the point that it prevents a person from living the normal life that he intends to have, that person may possibly be suffering from anxiety disorder. Defining what is anxiety disorder Anxiety disorder is generally a term that covers different types of extreme pathological phobia, fear, and anxiety. A person suffering from an anxiety disorder may experience abnormal feelings of anxiety even without knowing the cause or he may also have intense and sudden panic attacks. The attacks may be in the form of unwanted obsessions or compulsions and uncommon social inhibitions. Even though anxiety disorders have different forms, they are all the same in one thing Ė extreme and persistent worrying or fear. This condition becomes alarming as the intensity and frequency of the said responses can disrupt or undermine an individualís everyday routine and productivity. Below are the three characteristics of anxiety disorders:

1. Consistent, all-consuming, and continuous.

2. Interferes social interactions and activities.

3. Causes emotional withdrawal and isolation. Enumerating the factors leading to anxiety disorders There are a number of factors that can lead to the development of anxiety disorders. These factors are categorized according to personality, environmental, hereditary, and brain chemistry. 1. Personality According to medical studies, differences in personality can significantly affect the development of anxiety disorder in an individual. It is common in individuals with extreme anxiety condition to view the people and environment around them as threatening. People suffering from anxiety disorders also have inferiority complex, thinking and believing that they are powerless towards other people or situations. 2. Environmental The environment is also a very strong contributing factor in the development of anxiety disorders in individuals. Traumatic situations such as separation of parents; death; weak support system; as well as conflicts with family members and friends can definitely lead to abnormal anxiety condition. 3. Hereditary Studies proved that anxiety disorders are also hereditary. This means that these psychological conditions run in the family. Those who are found to be suffering from anxiety disorders have family members who are also experiencing extreme anxiety conditions or mood disorders. Recent studies also claimed that there are certain generic factors (such as vulnerability to stress) that contribute to a personís susceptibility to anxiety disorders.

4. Brain chemistry The occurrence of imbalances on a human brainís neurotransmitters can also lead to the further development of anxiety disorders. As such, the medications commonly given by doctor or health practitioners are meant to readjust the chemical imbalance in the brain. Apart from the four main factors enumerated above, chief life stressors such as marital problems and financial difficulties can also trigger the development of an anxiety disorder. However, it is important to remember that anxiety disorders cannot be triggered by only one cause or factor. The life stressors and the four main contributors to anxiety disorders are oftentimes interrelated.


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