Anxiety affects both men and women, both physically strong and weak people. It is not a sign of a weak character or an inability to cope with stress. Anxiety attacks can happen for the first time when you are very stressed and can get worse if your stress levels remain high.
Anxiety is a physical disorder similar to others in which the body overreacts to relatively normal situations.
What are the situations that can trigger anxiety attacks?
Unpleasant situations or things e.g. closed spaces, crowds, streets, tunnels, heights, flights, injections, sight of blood, spiders, aggressive animals, insects, dirty hands.
They can cause unpleasant sensations in all of us, however, in those with a tendency to have anxiety attacks, one or more of these things can cause a complete anxiety attack.
Unpleasant memories eg: traumatic memories of the past and things that can sometimes be of little importance which, however, make remembering these events a noise, a word, a gesture.
Strange physical sensations
- Other people may notice even very small changes in their physiological functions, such as a lack of a heartbeat or a slight feeling of dizziness.
- These modest changes can cause their fear of having a heart attack or any other serious illness.
In the event that the anxiety attacks and associated avoidance behaviors lead to a reduction in the functioning (social, occupational, etc.) of the person and if certain criteria of duration and severity are met (for the sake of brevity not reported here), we can speak of a diagnosis the Diagnostic and Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
Subjects with Panic Disorder and in Agoraphobia
The subjects are afraid of having a physical collapse,
in Social Phobia the fear is of receiving a negative judgment, in Generalized Anxiety Disorder the concern is that something bad could happen to self or loved ones, fear of harming oneself or others in OCD, being exposed to harm (actually unlikely) in Specific Phobias, and fear of intrusive memories of past dangerous situations in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .
In almost all cases
situations or thoughts can be found that trigger complete attacks of fear or panic.
When it is noticed, most of us try to escape from that situation as soon as possible and avoid the risk of finding ourselves in it again.
This creates a series of avoidances of specific situations that can compromise a person’s quality of life or engage in compulsive rituals, spend a lot of time worrying (brooding).
The purpose of treatment should be to reduce emotional sensitivity to stress, anticipatory anxiety and avoidance behaviors related to specific situations. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the therapeutic treatment of choice for Anxiety Disorders according to the International Guidelines (WHO, APA, NIMH, NICE).