Anxiety is an unpleasant combination of emotions that is often accompanied by physical sensations such as heart palpitations (irregular heart beat), nausea, angina (chest pain), shortness of breath, tension headache, and nervousness making it hard for the person with anxiety to relax. In progressed cases it can lead to panic attacks. Many times these symptoms can mimic heart-related conditions (e.g. a heart attack) and as a result, people may end up at their doctors office or the emergency room.
Stress, though a major contributor of anxiety, is different. Anxiousness due to stress lasts for only a few hours to a day, while anxiety may last up to six months.
An underlying medical condition, genetic predispositions, a lack of coping skills, trauma, medication and nutritional deficiencies are some of the main causes of anxiety.
Generally in conventional medicine, anxiety disorders are treated with medications, specific types of psychotherapy, or both. Treatment choices depend on the symptoms and what the individuals health care provider recommends for his or her patient.
Medication with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) including effexor, celexa, cipralex and paxil. Medication as the sole treatment for anxiety has many drawbacks. It is not a cure, but instead a temporary solution and can lead to a dependency on the drug.
Side effects reported by people who are medicated with one of these include flattened emotions - as if they are a zombie. This may be better in certain circumstances then the alternative of being anxious or depressed all day - but it can also just be replacing one issue with another. Other common side effects include nausea, fatigue, headaches, weight gain, changes in sexual behaviour (erectile dysfunction and diminished libido) and withdrawal effects when coming off the medication.
Identifying the cause of anxiety is the first step towards recovery. Is it the result of a stressful environment at school or work, stress in some other aspect of your life (e.g. family)? Perhaps you have one of these triggers in association with a genetic predisposition, nutrient deficiencies or a lack of coping skills?
Depending on what the cause is, the following have been found to be very helpful in the treatment of anxiety: