Do you often break down in cold sweats when anticipating a situation that you dislike? Does your heart palpitate strongly because of anxiety? Do negative thoughts frequently race through your mind, without you being able to control them no matter how hard you try? Is your daily life made difficult by never-ending worries that occur even with no just cause? Do you often feel hopeless, helpless, simply too weary to deal with it all?
If so, you are one among millions of people who are suffering from anxiety disorders of one form or another. These disorders are primarily characterized by the unnerving and resolute presence of anxiety. It is there every waking hour, making it difficult to face even simple everyday tasks. It permeates every thought. It makes sleep and rest difficult to come by. It robs you of your appetite for food. It robs you of interest in almost everything. It makes joy a thing of the past.
Severe anxiety is a truly devastating condition. Nobody wants to stay on a plane where you do nothing but agonize over situations over which you feel you have no control. When you feel fearful, nervous, or apprehensive all the time, you are also likely to succumb to depression.
Severe anxiety has serious physical repercussions. People who go through this condition chronically are likely to suffer from chest pains, nausea, hyperventilation, stomach cramps, and many other terrifying symptoms. The extent of physical pain may be so advanced as to warrant hospital confinement. Frequently, a doctor can find no medical cause for the symptoms. He may find it difficult to find a physical cause to pin the symptoms down on.
When the doctor realizes this and sees how often and how deeply upset a patient can get over situations which do not seem to call for so profound an anxious response, he is likely to surmise that anxiety is at the back of all these physical ailments. If the patient does not realize that he is in need of professional assistance from a person trained in mental and psychological health, a general practitioner is likely to bring this to his notice. He is likely to recommend that the patient goes for a more in-depth psychological evaluation.
If the patient, indeed, suffers from severe anxiety, he is usually advised to take medications which will decrease the severity of the anxieties. Drugs like benzodiazepines make the patient regain some amount of equanimity by reducing brain action. This will have a calming, soothing effect on the patient. On the downside, however, because of the very action of the brain slowing down, it is highly likely that the patient will feel drowsy and sluggish. Some patients may exhibit extreme adverse reactions. Speech may become garbled. The person may become confused and disoriented. The ability to see may be impaired with vision becoming hazy and fuzzy. Sometimes, he may even register some amount of memory loss. Anti-anxiety drugs deaden feelings in general, be they ones of pleasure, or ones of the other extreme, pain. A general feeling of being numb, uncaring, and insensitive may ensue.
These side effects are one of the reasons why drugs are only prescribed for limited use. Another is that the person may develop a dependence on them. Moreover, relief is temporary, hinged on the continued use of the drugs. The use of drugs is, therefore, just for relief. It is not a cure.
Interventions in the form of psychological therapy are usually preferred over the use of drugs. These entail consultation with a highly trained professional. Therapy makes it possible for the patient to gain an understanding of his thoughts, feelings, and behavior vis-à-vis the anxieties. He is given the skills necessary to re-wire or to re-condition his brain so that he gains control of his tendency to become unusually anxious.2016-08-19