Research shows that anxiety disorders have a variety of causes, with genetics and environment playing equally important roles as co-villains. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Studies support the evidence that anxiety disorders ‘run in families,’ as some families have a higher-than-average amount of anxiety disorders among relatives.”
However, we can’t ignore the impact of environmental factors, too. This includes a traumatic experience like abuse, loss of a loved one, and many others.
TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life that can affect anyone. Its frequency and length of duration will determine whether it’s a mental health disorder.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by people who exhibit extreme worry, nearly daily for up to 6 months, about many things (health, employment, societal interactions).
- Panic Disorder shows up in people who experience unforeseen panic attacks. These are rapid incidents of extreme fear that happen and normally peak within minutes.
- Phobias are often associated with anxiety, showing as an intense fear of specific situations or objects. People with phobias try and avoid the triggers whenever possible.
- Social anxiety disorder in someone is characterized as an intense fear of performance or social situations, concern about negative feedback, and extreme worry over embarrassment.
- Agoraphobia means someone fears two or more of the following: open spaces, public transportation, enclosed spaces, standing in line with others, or being left alone outside their home.
- Separation anxiety disorder normally afflicts young children. It’s a fear a parent will be injured, a parent will go away, fear a parent won’t return.
- Selective mutism is a kind of anxiety where a person can’t speak in certain social settings, even when he or she knows how to speak.
SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY
- You may have anxiety if you have feelings of restlessness, are on-edge, or wound-up
- You find yourself easily fatigued
- A person with anxiety may sweat profusely without cause
- You experience times when your body or limbs shake or tremble
- You feel out of control
- You purposely avoid people, objects, or situations
- You have a sensation of impending doom, panic, or danger
- Your heart beats rapidly or you hyperventilate
- You’re preoccupied only with whatever causes worry
- You may sleep too much or not enough
- Anxiety may also be characterized by digestive issues
- You can’t stop worrying
Symptoms of anxiety can often be treated with therapy, relaxation methods, or an innovative new treatment called ketamine infusion therapy. If you have frequent, lasting symptoms, contact a doctor for help.
Anxiety, whether hereditary or environmental, is a common mental health disorder affecting about 40 million people in the United States every year. Its symptoms and severity differ for each person, but it’s important to understand the triggers. Here are some to be aware of:
- Health issues, like obesity, cancer, or chronic pain.
- The use of over-the-counter or prescription medication.
- Caffeine, from coffee, soda, or other caffeinated drinks.
- Not eating regularly.
- Negative thoughts.
- Money trouble caused by worries about a lack of income or other financial hardships.
- Social interaction.
- Relationship problems and other conflicts.
- Stress or public speaking.
- Private triggers.
Anxiety & Genetics
As we’ve already learned, anxiety affects millions of people and is a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, though one may be more influential than the other. According to MSN and Nature, roughly 26 percent or one-quarter of a person’s risk for developing anxiety is based on genetics or inheriting it from a blood relative.
“That means other factors, such as traumatic experiences or physical illnesses, can have a larger impact. And your family can still contribute to anxiety in ways other than genetics.”
Once anxiety has been diagnosed, it’s time to discuss treatment options with your doctor or mental health professional. Together, you’ll review options and make an educated decision on the best course of action, given the symptoms, severity, and duration of the symptoms, and other factors including your overall health.
Various anxiety disorders have distinct symptoms. Your doctor may talk about treatment specific to a certain type of anxiety, but there are widespread methods of treatment that are used.
- Different forms of psychotherapy
- Medications, including ketamine to relieve anxiety symptoms
- Relaxation and stress-relief techniques
Anxiety disorders are common among millions of people, many passed off as the by-product of a “bad day at work,” “a terrible vacation,” or some other reason. Don’t be fooled into believing anxiety will disappear on its own, because it probably won’t. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of anxiety, talk to a doctor about diagnosis and treatment options. Many self-help resources are available through NAMI or the National Institutes of Health. If you have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of anxiety we can help. Contact us today to learn more.