Anxiety disorders and panic: their causes, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and therapy
Under anxiety disorders mean conditions accompanied by excessive excitability of the nervous system, as well as a strong unreasonable sense of anxiety and signs observed in the presence of certain pathologies of internal organs. This kind of disorder may occur on the background of chronic fatigue, stress, or a severe illness. Such states are often referred to as panic attacks. Obvious signs of this condition include dizziness, unreasonable anxiety, pain in the abdomen and chest, fear of death or imminent catastrophe, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of “lump in the throat.” Both the diagnosis and the treatment of this condition are handled by a neuropathologist. Therapy for anxiety disorders involves the use of sedatives, psychotherapy, as well as numerous methods of stress relief and relaxation.
Anxiety disorders – what is it?
Anxiety disorders are called a number of pathologies of the central nervous system, which are characterized by a constant feeling of anxiety, arising for unknown or unimportant reasons. With the development of this condition, the patient may also complain about the signs of some other ailments of the internal organs. So, for example, he may have difficulty breathing, pain in the stomach or chest, cough, a feeling of a lump in the throat, and so on.
What are the causes of anxiety disorders?
If we take into account the fact that the modern population is simply forced to lead an active lifestyle, it turns out that this state can develop in each of us. Among the factors that can trigger the development of this kind of disorders can also be attributed to psychological trauma resulting from a severe illness.
How can we distinguish the “normal” anxiety, which gives us the opportunity to survive in a dangerous situation, from the pathological anxiety resulting from anxiety disorder?
1. First of all, it is worth noting that meaningless anxiety has nothing to do with a specific dangerous situation. It is always invented, as the patient simply imagines in her mind a situation that actually does not exist. The feeling of anxiety in this case drains the patient, both physically and emotionally. The person begins to experience a feeling of helplessness, as well as excessive fatigue.
2. “Normal” alarm is always associated with the actual situation. She does not tend to disrupt human performance. As soon as the threat disappears, the person immediately passes and anxiety.
Anxiety disorders – what are their signs and symptoms?
It is important to note the fact that all the symptoms that were presented to the attention of readers a little higher often resemble the signs of other pathologies. As a result, patients turn for help to a huge number of specialists, but not to a neuropathologist.
Quite often, such patients also have phobias – the fear of certain items or situations. The most common are phobias such as:
1. Nosophobia – the fear of a certain disease or the fear of getting sick in general (for example, cancer phobia – the fear of getting cancer).
2. Agoraphobia – fear of finding yourself in a crowd of people or in an overly large open space, fear of not being able to get out of this space or a crowd.
3. Social phobia – fear of eating in public places, fear of being in the company of strangers, fear of speaking before the public, and so on.
4. Claustrophobia – the fear of being in confined spaces. In this case, a person may be afraid to remain both in a locked room and in transport, in an elevator, and so on.
5. Fear of insects, height, snakes, and the like.
It should be noted that normal fear differs from the pathological one, first of all, by its paralyzing effect. It arises without cause, while completely changing the behavior of a person. Another sign of anxiety disorder is considered to be obsessive-compulsive syndrome, which is a constantly emerging ideas and thoughts that provoke a person to some kind of the same actions. So, for example, people who constantly think about germs have to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water almost every five minutes. Mental illness – one of the anxiety disorders, accompanied by sudden repeated panic attacks, occurring without any reason. During such an attack, a person has palpitations, shortness of breath, and fear of death.
Features of anxiety disorders in children
Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks
A little higher, we have already said that in the presence of anxiety disorders in a patient, there are numerous symptoms similar to the signs of diseases of the nervous system, digestive tract, goiter, asthma, and so on. As a rule, the diagnosis of this pathology can be established only after all pathologies with the same symptoms are eliminated. Both the diagnosis and therapy of this disease are within the competence of the neuropathologist.
Therapy of this kind of condition involves psychotherapy, as well as medication, which tend to reduce anxiety. These medicines are anxiolytics. As for psychotherapy, this method of treatment is based on numerous techniques that enable the patient to actually look at everything that happens, and also help his body to relax at the time of an attack of anxiety. Psychotherapeutic techniques include breathing exercises and breathing in the bag, autotraining, as well as developing a calm attitude to obsessive thoughts in the case of obsessive-compulsive syndrome. This method of therapy can be used both individually and for the treatment of a small number of people at the same time. Patients are taught how to behave in certain life situations. Such training provides an opportunity to gain self-confidence, and, therefore, overcome all threatening situations. Therapy of this pathology through drugs involves the use of drugs that help restore normal metabolism in the brain. As a rule, in such cases, patients are prescribed anxiolytics, that is, sedatives. There are several groups of such medicines, namely:
- Neuroleptics (Tiaprid, Sonapaks and others) are often prescribed to patients in order to relieve them of excessive anxiety. Against the background of the use of these medications, such side effects may be known about themselves: obesity, lowering blood pressure, lack of sexual desire.
- Benzodiazepine drugs (Clonazepam, Diazepam, Alprazolam) make it possible to forget about anxiety in a relatively short period of time. At the same time, they can also cause the development of some side effects such as movement coordination disorders, reduced attention, addiction, and drowsiness. The course of therapy with these medicines should not exceed four weeks.
- Antidepressants (Anafranil, Amitriptyline) are used only if the patient has signs of depression.
- Non-benzodiazepine axiolytics (Grandaxine, Afobazol, Mebikar) help to significantly reduce anxiety, while not causing any side effects.
- If the patient is concerned about frequent attacks of the heartbeat, pain in the chest area or a feeling of squeezing of the chest, then he is prescribed medication from the group of adrenergic blockers, namely Atenolol or Propranolol.
- Medicinal preparations based on medicinal plants, such as Novo-Passit, are also used in the fight against anxiety disorders. By the way, this medication can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, as it is completely safe.
In addition to sedative drugs, medications may be prescribed to patients to improve the blood supply to the brain, as well as to improve its performance. Among them are Pantogam, Nootropil, Aminalon, and Piracetam. It is important for such patients to think about their feelings and conditions. If a person manages to understand that the feeling of anxiety in his particular case is unfounded, it will be much easier for him to get rid of this disorder. Therapy with sedative medications is possible only after consulting a specialist. This is explained by the fact that some medications tend to cause addiction, as well as contribute to the development of extremely complex side effects.