Anxiety- A Guide To Understanding Its Classification And Much More

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues which has been widely misconstrued by people. Even the very discussion about mental health has its own stigma attached. Many people keep their condition a secret while some choose to openly discuss it as a way of coping up with it. However, it is important to keep in mind that mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety are NOT a sign of weakness, and people do not choose to have it. However, it is important to talk about it and not consider our mental health as anything different from the rest of our body.

Mental Health Anxiety
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It is completely normal to feel anxious from time to time, because of everything that is going on in our lives. But, for many people, anxiety is constant, like a person who is attached to them all the time, lurking behind corners. As a person who has faced a constant struggle to put up with anxiety, it surely can be difficult to cope if you do not have enough ways to reach out.

People can appear confident but still, have anxiety. You can be torn apart from the inside but still, have a smile on your face. When I paid attention to my symptoms after years of suffering, I learned that my anxiety was an actual mental health disorder. I felt a sense of relief when I learned more about the condition and why this happens to me. I felt that I was the one controlling my thoughts instead of the opposite. Some symptoms can be self- diagnosable, while others might take time.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Here are some common symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). However, it is a subjective illness, and people should pay attention as to how their body responds, both mentally and physically:

  • rapid breathing
  • heavy sweating and muscle twitching
  • weakness and lethargy
  • difficulty focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you are worried about
  • difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • digestive problems, such as gas, difficulty in passing stools, or diarrhea
  • a strong desire to avoid the things that trigger your anxiety

 

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Anxiety and Stress

Stress can be a breeding ground for anxiety disorders, but there is a colossal difference between the two. They may also share the same physical symptoms so it can be challenging to react to it and get professional help immediately. Avoiding stressful situations altogether can impact a person’s ability to participate or function normally in their daily lives.

On the other hand, finding effective ways to cope with stress can improve health and quality of life. I am sure many people must have searched this on the internet, as many of us find it as the first possible way to reach out. The information that you google is very different from what you experience, and it is not entirely advisable to solely depend on your research. Remember, the internet is only a medium for identifying the cause and not blindly jumping into conclusions. Of course, you do not have ‘cancer’, like what google shows every time you search for a health condition.

 

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Here are some differences between chronic stress and anxiety in general:

  • Stress can be either short-term or long term, for example, a work deadline or the loss of a loved one, respectively. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a steady feeling of worry and panic, even in the absence of a stressor.
  • Stress can go away after certain days or weeks, whereas anxiety is lingering and tends to last longer and is more difficult to treat. Physical symptoms if aggravated, lead to a panic attack with or without any trigger.
  • Anxiety usually tends to be focused on the future. Our heads revolve around the hypotheticals and worst-case scenarios rather than paying heed to what is happening at present. The ‘gut feeling’ usually feels like a hollow pit in the stomach, leading to ‘tummy issues’ like stomach-ache and nausea.

Anxiety is a common mental disorder, but at the same time, highly underestimated. People push it under the rug, stating that it is nothing more than chronic stress and does not require serious medical attention. Therefore, it is crucial to differentiate the fact from fiction.

Misconceptions regarding Anxiety

Anxiety can resolve on its own

This is completely WRONG, and the symptoms will remain persistent if you do not seek professional help asap. It is not something to be ‘cured’ by ignoring it and returning to your daily activities.

Anxiety stems from certain fear or trauma

Anxiety makes you less aware of what you are feeling in the moment, and it is not necessarily true that certain fears lead to anxiety. Though if you face symptoms of anxiety after a traumatic event in your life, it may be classified as ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.’

Getting help for anxiety will label you as ‘crazy’

You may worry that people might label you as mentally ill or crazy if you seek treatment. These fears will only do more harm by standing in the way of your balance and well-being. Getting treatment will give you the strength and the help you need to cope with your illness.

Real anxiety means having panic attacks

Many think anxiety is all about panic attacks – and while panic attacks can be part of anxiety, there are different types of anxiety disorders, each with its own unique symptoms.

Different types of anxiety disorders

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

This involves a person feeling anxious most days, worrying about lots of different things, from work to money, to friends, to their health.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This means someone has obsessive and/or intrusive thoughts (like a fear of germs), which they often try to control with repetitive behaviour (such as constantly washing their hands).

Social Anxiety

This is an intense fear of being criticised, embarrassed, or humiliated in everyday scenarios (like eating in public, speaking publicly, or making small talk).

Panic Disorders

This means someone experiences recurrent and unexpected panic attacks.

PTSD

This develops after someone was exposed to trauma or traumatic event (like a physical attack or war). People often have flashbacks or dreams and will do their best to avoid reminders of their trauma.

 

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Seek Help Always

Always remember that no matter how serious your issues are, there is medical, and professional help available; You are not alone in this battle, and there are professionals who are here to help you deal with your struggles.

In case of stressful situations students can contact the student support center through http://ssc.manipal.edu/.

The Student Support Centre (SSC) is a completely confidential service devoted to supporting the emotional well-being of students. SSC offers therapy sessions with qualified clinical psychologists, covered by student medical insurance (Medicare).

Keeping in mind that going to large hospitals often distresses students and dissuades them from seeking help, the SSC is located in a quiet residential area that ensures privacy and accessibility.

If you are someone who wants to seek mental help or just someone to talk to, please feel free to connect with us or some helplines which are mentioned below:

 

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sharona sachanAbout the AuthorSharona Sachan is a first-year undergraduate student at Manipal Institute of Communication. She will be either found reading a book in a corner or vibing to music loudly in front of everyone. There is nothing in between.