STRESS, TENSION, NERVOUSNESS, PANIC
WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY???
By Dr. Matt Marko MD PhD
Most likely……from an Anxiety Disorder.
Anxiety is a term that describes a normal feeling people experience when faced with threat or danger, or when they
are in a stressful situation or environment. This may real or imagined by the person, but be sure that reasonable or not,
to that person at that time, it is very real.
When people become anxious, they typically feel upset, uncomfortable and tense. Feelings
of anxiety are caused by experiences in life, such as job loss, relationship breakdown, pressure of academic goals, family
and peer pressure, serious illness, major accident or the death of someone close. Feeling anxious is appropriate in these
situations and usually we feel anxious for only a limited short period of time. These feelings are not regarded as clinical
anxiety, but are a part of everyday life for most every normal person.
What are the anxiety disorders?
The anxiety disorders are a group of illnesses, each characterized by persistent feelings
of high anxiety. There are feelings of continual, prolonged and/or extreme discomfort and tension, with the fear of panic
attacks, very often without clear evident cause to others around them. People are likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
when their level of anxiety and feelings of panic are so extreme that they significantly interfere with daily life and stop
them doing what they want to do. This is what characterizes an anxiety disorder as more than normal feelings of anxiety. Anxiety
disorders affect the way the person thinks, feels and behaves and, if not treated, causes considerable suffering and distress.
They often begin in early adulthood and are often triggered by a series of significant life events. Anxiety disorders are
common and affect one in 20 people at any given time.
What are the main types of anxiety disorders?
Most types of anxiety disorder are characterized by heightened anxiety and fear of panic.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders, (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) are considered types of anxiety disorder,
as both feature high levels of anxiety, which people try and often fail to control. Generalized anxiety disorders, (GAD) People
with this disorder worry constantly about harm affecting them or their loved ones, for example, financial disaster,
their health, work or personal relationships. The irrational or unfounded worry is accompanied by a feeling of constant apprehension.
Agoraphobia is a fear of being in places or situations from which it may be difficult or embarrassing to get away, or the
fears that help might be unavailable if needed.
This is the most common anxiety disorder and constitutes about half those
with anxiety disorders who seek professional help. People with agoraphobia most commonly experience fear in a cluster of situations:
in supermarkets and department stores, crowded places of all kinds, confined spaces, buses, trains, elevators, highways and
being in high places. People experiencing agoraphobia may find comfort in the company of a safe person or object. This may
be a spouse, friend, pet or medicine carried with them. We do not understand why, but the onset of agoraphobia is common between
the ages of 15 and 20, or between 30 and 40. Many more women than men seek treatment.
Panic Disorder (with or without agoraphobia)
People with this disorder experience extreme panic attacks in situations where most people
would not be afraid. The attacks are accompanied by all the unpleasant physical symptoms of anxiety, with a fear that the
attack will lead to death or a total loss of control. It is because of this that some people start to experience a fear of
going outside (agoraphobia) and being in places where help is not at hand.
Everyone has some irrational fears, but phobias are intense fears about particular
objects, places or situations that interfere in our lives. These might include fear of heights, water, dogs, closed spaces,
snakes or spiders. Someone with a specific phobia is fine when the feared object is not present. However, when faced with
the feared object or situation, the person can become highly anxious and experience a panic attack. People affected by phobias
can go to great lengths to avoid situations, which would force them to confront the object, or situation, which they fear.
People with social phobia fear that others will judge everything they do in a negative
way. They believe they are permanently flawed and worthless if any sign of poor performance is detected. They cope by either
trying to do everything perfectly, limiting what they do in front of others, especially eating, drinking, speaking or writing,
or they withdraw gradually from contact with others. Become less and less active to avoid the fears they feel. Withdrawn into
often their safe own world.
This disorder involves constant unwanted thoughts, and often results in the performance
of elaborate rituals in an attempt to control or banish the persistent thoughts. The rituals are usually time consuming and
sometimes seriously interferes with their everyday life. For example, people may be constantly driven to wash their hands
or continually return home to check that the door is locked or the oven is turned off. People with this disorder are often
acutely embarrassed and keep it a secret, even from their families. This may be in many forms from mild to extreme.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Many people who have experienced major traumas such as war, torture, vehicle accidents,
fires or personal violence will continue to feel terror long after the event is over. They may experience nightmares or flashbacks
for years. The flashbacks are often brought about by triggers related to the experience, but not necessarily central
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
The causes of each disorder may vary and it is not always easy to determine the causes
in every case. Personality People with certain characteristics are more prone or likely to have anxiety disorders. Those who
are easily aroused and upset, and are very sensitive and emotional, are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. People who,
in childhood, were inhibited and shy may also be prone to develop certain anxiety disorders, such as social phobia.
Some people exposed to situations, people or objects that are upsetting or anxiety-arousing
may develop an anxiety response when faced with the same situation, person, or object again, or become anxious when even just
thinking about the situation, person, or object. Heredity The tendency to develop anxiety disorders may run in families or
a person may also ‘learn’ anxious responses from their family or parents. Biochemical processes, (although there
is no clear evidence), is possible that some anxiety disorders result from chemical processes in the brain. In all cases,
there is a need for a thorough examination of the person to help determine the nature of the problem and how it may best be
What Treatment Is Available?
Anxiety disorders, if they are not managed, continue to interfere significantly with the
person’s thinking and behavior, causing considerable suffering and distress in their life. Many professionals such as
trained counselors, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist can assist in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
This requires counseling for different periods of time and or the use of medication to
help control the affects of such a condition. Something that must be resolved in the persons mind most of all. Some people
respond quickly while others may never fully be rid of the problem but can learn to control it enough to be able to function
more in life.
In either case something, which can be, helped for most everyone. To lead a better, happier
life and so that it does not cause other problems. To live with too much anxiety and stress, can eventually lead to actual
physical problems as well. This such as high blood pressure, faster heat rate causing undo stress on the heart and other future
problems. Many people will feel a great deal of abdominal problems such as nausea and pain.
Especially here in China, so many of us feel the pressure
of just our everyday lives bearing down upon us from children to adults. Examinations – scores, relationships, job pressure
and the pressure we each place on each other for education, families, financial, responsibilities of every type and kind that
surrounds us almost daily in this ever developing and changing world.
So whether it is anxiety, depression or something more, the answer
is to relax and get the help you need so your life can be happier and healthier.