The keys to understanding anxiety disorders

Anxiety is a normal adaptive response that it is experienced in situations where the individual feels threatened or in danger (Real or imaginary). It can be understood as a defense mechanism that alerts the person to imminent danger and prepares them physically and psychologically to face or flee the threat. Thus, a certain degree of anxiety is even desirable for the normal management of daily demands. It is only when the intensity is excessive and disproportionate to the threat that it becomes pathological.

In anxiety disorders, there is usually no real triggerBut it is the individual’s own mind that conjures up an unconscious thought or image that is threatening, causing the symptomatic image of anxiety to appear.

Additionally, it is common to find testimonials from patients who state that these thoughts usually arise after a stressful event, just when the person was relaxed. Why is this happening?

    What thoughts are related to anxiety disorders?

    When the person is in a situation that requires their full attention, most of the fears are left behind because the person does not have enough time to think about anything. It is a question of priorities. However, when the stressful situation has already passed and the person is calm, it is normal that the thoughts have been temporarily avoided. reappear suddenly and unexpectedly.

    For Rodolfo De Porras De Abreu, psychologist and director of Psychologists Málaga PsicoAbreu, anxiety is linked to the feeling of “not taking the reins of one’s life”. Often anxious people feel that they are not in control of their emotions, their body, their relationships, their work, their life. Taking the reins is not about controlling everything, but deciding what we want and what we don’t want. It is common to find anxiety therapy with patients who have dedicated their lives to making those around them happy, but who have forgotten themselves. Hence the importance of thinking about yourself and decide what kind of life you want to live.

    In this regard, the psychologist of the cabinet Maribel De el Riu affirms that anxiety can also translate into an “excess of the future”. People with anxiety usually have questions: what if …? They want everything to be under controlThey think that this way they will have no reason to worry, because they will have a solution already chosen for every “possible” problem.

    However … when does everything go according to plan? May. In addition, the psychological cost of constantly posing possible problems for which we are prepared makes us never enjoy the present and feel that our mind is going faster than our body.

    What is the difference between normal and pathological anxiety?

    The characteristics of normal anxiety are as follows.

    • The intensity and duration of the episode and its symptoms are proportional to the stimulus that caused it..
    • The individual’s attention is focused on possible solutions to the danger.
    • Improved efficiency, performance and learning.

    Here is an example:

    During a robbery, the victim may feel their mind rushing to decide how best to ask for help, how to do it, whether to attack the abuser or just run away. While on the psychological level, the mind calculates the different solutions, physically and behaviorally, the person prepares to deal with the problem. Interestingly in these cases, the physical symptoms, although they are the same as in anxiety disorders, do not worry the person as they are related and proportional to the external event.

    On the other hand, the characteristics of pathological anxiety are as follows.

    • There may be no conscious stimulus or thought that triggers it.
    • The intensity and duration of the episode and its symptoms it is disproportionate to the real danger.
    • The person’s attention is focused on the physical symptoms by not understanding the reason.
    • The person usually blocks and worsens their performance.

    An example of pathological anxiety may be the following:

    During a public conference, some people experience dizziness, tachycardia, tremors, shortness of breath, tingling, fainting, or thoughts such as being stuck in the middle of a speech. In this particular case, there is no real danger, the intensity of symptoms is excessive and the person can become blocked by their own fear, increasing their feeling of helplessness and reinforcing the pathological circle. In these cases, the physical symptoms usually worry the sufferer because they feel that they are not proportional to the threat.

    Symptoms of anxiety

    Anxiety causes symptoms at the physical, psychological and behavioral level. Psychologists from the PsicoAbreu team say that physical symptoms are the ones that cause the most worry and psychological counseling. Among the most common are feeling of suffocation, pressure in the chest or knot in the stomach, tachycardia, dizziness or feeling faint, Vomiting, loss or excess of appetite, cold sweats, tingling and numbness in parts of the body, sleeping problems, etc.

    Some of the most common psychological symptoms include fear of losing control, fear of having a heart attack or dying from the symptoms, depersonalization, unrealization, difficulty in paying attention, concentrating and remembering, thinking catastrophic.

    Finally, in behavioral symptoms, people often avoid crowded places, go out alone, avoid certain situations, make checks to feel that everything is in order, etc.

      Types of anxiety disorders

      The different forms that an anxiety disorder can take are as follows.

      1. Panic disorder

      This is a psychological disorder in which a person has episodes of intense fear accompanied by symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, tachycardia, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, etc. that come on suddenly, from a few minutes to a few hours. As a result of all this the person ends up developing a “ fear of fear ”That is to say the fear of feeling again the anxiety generated during one of these crises, which paradoxically can trigger a new anxiety attack.

      2. Agoraphobia

      This has generally been linked to the fear of being in open spaces. However, what the person really fears is having a panic attack and finding it difficult or compromised to escape the area. People who suffer from it often avoid places like shopping malls, public transportation and in severe cases, the person may even be afraid to leave the house on their own.

      3. Generalized anxiety (GAD)

      People with this disorder feel too preoccupied with everything around them, whether it is important issues or not. They always get into the worst and are in constant pain. Although they are able to recognize that they care too much about it, they cannot control it.

      4. Specific phobias

      The person feels an irrational and excessive fear of a stimulus, a place or a situation, so they end up avoiding it. The most common phobias are animals, darkness, blood, storms, now, enclosed spaces, etc.

        5. Social phobia

        The person feels one intense and persistent fear of being judged negatively by other people or doing things that embarrass him. Social phobia is often confused with shyness. However, the shy person is able to identify with and participate in social events, while those with social phobia have such intense fear that it prevents them from participating in any way in public.

        6. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

        this trouble it is characterized by the performance of rituals or strange behaviors in order to calm the anxiety arising from a premonitory thought. Obsessions refer to intrusive thoughts, ideas, or images, which cause worry and anxiety, and which appear again and again in the mind. Compulsions are measures taken to reduce anxiety caused by obsessions.

        7. Post-traumatic stress disorder

        In PET, the person experiences symptoms of anxiety following psychological trauma such as death of a loved one, accident, theft, etc.

        the treatment

        The team of psychologists from the offices of Psychologists Psychologists Málaga PsicoAbreu specializes in the effective psychological treatment of anxiety disorders. This therapy aims on the one hand to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and on the other hand to provide tools for the management and modification of the emotional, thinking and behavior factors that maintain high levels of anxiety and their effects. consequences.

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