We feel anxious at many points in our lives. But if you find yourself over-reacting to a normal situation or feel uneasiness or worry with a certain negative outcome, you may be suffering from an Anxiety attack. Anxiety can be a serious mental illness if you let it overwhelm you in your day to day life.
Little Krish was particular about each and everything. He kept worrying for lot of things that he does daily, such as what if he would get late for the school bus, whether he would get his favourite seat in class, whether he would finish his homework on time and if he did whether it would be correct or not etc. His parents thought it was normal for kids of his age to be this way until his friend’s mother pointed out that Krish was always highly anxious. They took him to a therapist after the school referred them to one. They were shocked when they found that he suffered from an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is a natural human reaction. Feeling anxious is something children experience every day. There are some phases that may be temporary and are usually harmless. But once the child starts avoiding a place, exhibits irrational fear or nervousness, the parent should start taking notice and help the child overcome this feeling before it affects the child’s mental well-being.
Similarly in adults: approaching deadlines, not being able to reach goals, etc causes a lot of anxiety.
Anxiety is like an alarm inside our body that goes off when we perceive a threat or danger. This can manifest itself in physical reactions such as dizziness, sweating of palms and feet, difficulty in breathing, rapid heartbeats, etc. These sensations are called “the Flight or Fight response”. These are caused by the hormone adrenaline to prepare the body for a fight or to escape. This is the most immediate response. Then slowly once our brain starts thinking, the cortex assesses the situation and then a correct response forms.
Feeling alert all the time? Feel like there’s someone out to get you? Read on.
Anxiety is described as a feeling of fear, foreboding, trepidation or unease about something that may happen. A person may feel anxious at many points in his/her day to day life.
A Person may experience Physical or Emotional Anxiety:
- Trouble concentrating on any task
- Irritability : Easily gets irked or irritated
- Restlessness: Pacing around and general listlessness
- Feeling of apprehension as to something may go wrong
- Sweating: Sweaty palms and feet even in comfortable weather
- Palpitations: Feeling as if one is going to get a heart-attack
- Muscle twitches
- Shortness of breath
- Physical pain like headaches, Body pains
- Extreme Fatigue: Inexplicable tiredness even after resting
- Sleeplessness: Being unable to sleep or finding oneself awake at odd hours
- Increased Urination or diarrhoea: A stomach upset for no reason
- Choking: A feeling of someone throttling
These are a few to name. However do consult a healthcare professional to rule out other health conditions.
It is not very clear as to what exactly causes an Anxiety attack. Several things play a role, including an overactive ‘flight or fight’ response. Anxiety may be caused by certain environmental factors such as
- Trauma caused by a loved one’s death or any such factors
- Major life transitions
- Brain Chemistry
- Substance abuse
- Medical factors
In kids, growing up in a stressful environment such as a dangerous place or parents who always fight may also cause anxiety. They may not even realise what is causing them to feel these sensations and may get even more anxious or worried.
Anxiety can be easily diagnosed by a healthcare professional after studying the symptoms of the person.
Complications / Risks :
People often tend to think negative thoughts and do not hesitate to act on them. These are the risks or complications a person with an anxiety disorder undergoes.
- Teeth-grinding in kids
- Disturbed sleep
- Trouble breathing or respiratory issues.
- Leads to an increased risk of heart disease
- Indigestion or other gastro-intestinal issues
There are several kinds of anxiety disorders:
- Panic Disorder: Panic Attacks: When a kid experiences a panic attack, they usually have sudden Pounding heart, shortness of breath, dizziness, numb or tingling feelings.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder: With this disorder, kids generally worry about mundane things like school, or about family members; like the worst that could happen to them, or imagine getting into big trouble. This may manifest itself into physical symptoms such as stomach aches, muscle tension, dizziness or nausea. They may feel out of control.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Usually triggered when asked to speak in front of someone or a social group.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This disorder results directly after a stressful event in one’s life. Symptoms may include fear of the dark, nightmares, inability to sleep.
- Phobias: Intense fear of specific objects or situations that are by themselves not dangerous cause the person/child to avoid or fear them. E.g.: Dogs, Flying in an airplane, fear of darkrooms, etc.
There are many ways to control unwanted anxiety attacks through psychotherapy and a normal life can be lead by taking measures.
A Child’s / Adult’s Anxiety disorder can easily be treated by a professional therapist. The therapist will look at the symptoms displayed and create a proper plan to help the child / adult cope with the situation. The therapist may also provide support, guidance and would teach coping skills and breathing exercises.
Do consult us for further guidance.