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Anxiety: How to regain your quality of life

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Anxiety: How to regain your quality of life

An exam scares you, in difficult situations you react extremely jumpy - where do these constant anxiety states come from? You weren't like this before. Are your feelings of anxiety still normal? You are beginning to think that the nervousness and fear are pathological.

Like detailed information about anxiety disorders show that up to 14 % of Germans suffer from anxiety disorders. The problem is: the more you get used to anxiety, the more power it has over you. It may even turn into a pathological anxiety disorder. What can you do about this anxiety? Here you can learn more about the background and suitable countermeasures.

What is anxiety?

Fear is a natural feeling. Fear of spiders or large animals, for example, is a sign of danger, a warning signal, so to speak. Originally, such fears were supposed to protect people from threats. Fleeing or fighting, these two options were available. Even today, well-founded fear is supposed to give us the necessary strength to counterattack or run away.

Violent anxiety, however, is something else. You feel cornered. Most of the time, you don't even realize where this anxiety is coming from. The physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety increase into a panic attack. Those who suffer from such anxiety disorders are not aware of this exaggeration of feelings. That is why exaggerated anxiety belongs to the category of anxiety disorders.

Everywhere you expect dangers

One of the problems is the severely impaired quality of life. The worse the conditions are, the harder it is for you to cope with everyday life. You expect danger everywhere. A car could run you over on the street. A dog could bite you, your colleagues could bully you. Fear takes hold of you at every moment. You feel it directly inside you, that must be a bad sign. Heart palpitations, sweating, trembling and shortness of breath take hold of you. Typical anxiety shows up in sudden attacks. Sometimes you get really sick for fear. In other situations, you freeze or even faint.

Often these conditions are related to certain anxiety disorders. Maybe you are afraid of wide places, crowds, animals or tricky situations. Generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, or specific phobia: You won't get rid of your anxiety without treatment. Especially with extreme Panic attacks you need professional help.

anxiety symptoms

How do you know you have anxiety? - Signs and symptoms

Is your anxiety still in the normal range or is it already pathologically exaggerated? You are nervous before a presentation, but that is far from being an anxiety disorder. Fear of large dogs is also well-founded and therefore also not in need of treatment. At what point do experts start talking about anxiety or anxiety disorders? If you know what anxiety is and how it usually occurs, you'll be better able to recognize the signs.

Typical warning signs of anxiety:

  • You're constantly thinking about your feelings of anxiety and letting them constrict you.
  • Your fears make you depressed and lower your quality of life.
  • You take more and more tranquilizers, alcohol or drugs to get rid of the feeling of anxiety.
  • Your partnership suffers from your anxiety.
  • Because of your anxiety disorder, you can no longer concentrate on work.

In addition, there are the following symptoms of anxiety:

  • Palpitations,
  • Sweating,
  • irregular, rapid breathing, in extreme cases hyperventilating,
  • Nausea,
  • Vertigo,
  • Drowsiness,
  • Headache,
  • Stomach discomfort.

Typical behaviors associated with anxiety disorders and anxiety states.

People with a phobia often unconsciously fall into avoidance tactics. For example, if you are afraid of heights, you avoid dizzying situations. You don't look out of the window on the upper floors. You're afraid of embarrassing yourself? This fear makes you stay inconspicuous. You prefer to stay in the background and frantically try to avoid mistakes.

By avoiding it, you don't get distressed. Anxiety sweats and other nervous reactions are no longer an issue. But you limit your life more and more when you give in to the feelings of fear. The main problem now is the fear of fear itself. It grows and grows and becomes a huge obstacle. That is why you should face your fear. This is the only way to fight your way out of the vicious circle.

Anxiety: the 6 most common causes

Cars speed past you - you see grim faces everywhere - the spider on the wall triggers fear in you. In actually normal situations you panic, out of the blue and without warning. Where does the anxiety come from?

The causes often lie in the past. You may have trained the anxious behavior in your childhood. An overprotective upbringing or neglect can increase anxiety. Traumatizing experiences, social problems, and genetic factors can also cause or exacerbate anxious feelings. On top of that, sometimes you have additional medical conditions that exacerbate your anxiety.

When you look for the reasons for your fears, you often come to the following typical causes:

  1. Physical problems: Negative disease diagnoses are a big threat. You fear not only bad health, but also serious illness. Cancer is life-threatening, and other illnesses and pain also weigh heavily on you. Pain patients in particular often suffer from anxiety. These negative feelings often exacerbate your sensitivity to pain.
  2. Medication: Some medications have a reinforcing effect on feelings of anxiety. This is possible, for example, with medicines for mental illnesses. Antibiotics and other drugs can also have serious side effects on your psyche.
  3. Too much alcohol and drugs affect your perception. They can cause depressive moods and anxiety. People who already suffer from phobias may become addicted to alcohol and drugs. This increases the risk of physical and mental illness.
  4. Often the anxiety arises from underlying problems and are related to mental illness. Thus, mixed anxiety disorders arise, in which anxiety is accompanied by depression.
  5. Extreme stress intensifies the mental stress and can trigger panic attacks. Sometimes compulsive actions are added, which are supposed to protect from the fear. If the feelings of anxiety persist after the stress phase, you should take them seriously and talk to a doctor.
  6. An difficult childhooda traumatic experience - post-traumatic stress disorder can develop from experiences that have not been processed. This is often associated with pathological anxiety and depressive moods.

Common anxiety disorders

Social phobias are among the most common anxiety disorders. A social phobic is afraid of other people and withdraws strongly. In some cases, the fear relates only to large gatherings of people. In this case, sufferers often rely on avoidance: they only go to small gatherings and prefer to work alone.

Among the specific phobias you will find fear of flying, fear of the dark, of great heights or of exams. Sometimes other problems and fears hide behind these phobias. A generalized anxiety disorder deals with the usual everyday worries and the future. Here the fears are clearly exaggerated. The inner tension leads to concentration tension, muscle tension and sleep problems.

Other forms of anxiety include mental illnesses that combine exaggerated anxiety with depression. Here, the transition from feelings of anxiety to depressive moods is fluid.

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5 things that help with anxiety and restlessness

What to do about anxiety? Do you need therapy or can you free yourself from this maelstrom on your own? Psychotherapy involves a comprehensive diagnosis that looks at your medical history. When did the anxiety start? How severe are the fears and how much do they bother you? The doctor will also examine you for physical complaints, because sometimes a physical illness causes the feelings of anxiety. He will also check whether there are any psychological problems.

In the management of anxiety disorders, these methods are particularly helpful:

  • An individual psychotherapy with root cause analysis and targeted treatment,
  • Hypnotherapy to overcome the stuck beliefs,
  • appropriate medication to deal with the supposedly threatening situation without fear,
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety symptoms,
  • Exposure as a solution approach to manage anxiety.

With targeted relaxation, you will succeed in not letting fear guide you even in frightening situations. In this way, you learn to free yourself from unnecessary, exaggerated fears. Psychotherapists will also show you how such exercises work.

In exposure therapy, you face the things you're afraid of. You are afraid of spiders? Then you observe a terrarium with the eight-legged animals. Are you afraid of flying? Study the subject and you will see how safe modern airplanes are.

Calming drugs

In certain cases, sedative medications can be useful. However, you may only take these under strict medical supervision. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming dependent.

What else helps against anxiety and restlessness? Don't stress yourself too much, avoid caffeine and alcohol. Doing sports you will get rid of your inner nervousness and at the same time gain self-confidence: This is a strong partner in your fight against anxiety. Participation in a self-help group can also be useful. Here you can learn how others deal with their feelings of anxiety. You are not alone, as you will quickly discover when sharing your experiences with other anxious people. Together you are stronger and can better overcome your fears.

Anxiety - here's how you can fight it

Always this fear that other people will mob you or attack you - plus the fear of the dark and other things. When will this finally stop? First of all, you have to recognize your anxiety as such. Accept the feelings of fear: they certainly have their reason. Don't be afraid to talk about them. Get help - from your friends or from a professional. Your family doctor can recommend a psychotherapist or give you the address of a support group. Some church communities also offer support.

How anxious are you and how long have you had this anxiety? The Personality test from Greator shows you your strengths, but also your weaknesses and fears. Realize that the symptoms of anxiety have a natural cause. Then you will understand yourself better and gradually get your anxiety under control.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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