Is Anxiety Disorder Curable?

Anxiety is something we all face in our lives. It affects different people in different ways. There are many misconceptions about anxiety and the disorder itself, let us look into the details of it to learn more.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a sense of nervousness, worry, or uneasiness you feel when you have to face a wide range of issues and situations. Like exams or a public speech or interview. It is a response to stress. We often don’t hear about the ‘good anxiety’ that actually helps and motivates us. It acts as a protection against any potential threat by keeping us alert and once the thing that has been causing you to worry is over you stop worrying about it and move forward.

Anxiety does help us in dealing with certain situations. So when do we know that we need to seek help for anxiety?

What are anxiety disorders?

It is essential to understand it is normal to feel anxiety during times of change or the occurrence of big events in your life. Normal or ordinary anxiety comes and goes and does not hinder your everyday life.

But with anxiety disorder, the fear and worry are so intense and present for such a prolonged time (for months or even years) that it affects the functioning of daily activities.

Anxiety disorder can obstruct you from doing what you enjoy and sometimes even cause difficulty in leaving the house in extreme cases.

The most prevalent type of emotional disorder is anxiety disorder, which can affect everyone. But the American Psychiatric Association reports that women are more likely than men to be given an anxiety disorder diagnosis.

What are the types of Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is an essential part of various disorders. Such as:

  • Social anxiety disorder- Social interactions cause irrational anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder- Excessive Thoughts, called obsession lead to repetitive behaviours (compulsive)
  • Separation anxiety disorder- Fear of being apart from or losing an attachment figure
  • Illness anxiety disorder- Obsession with the idea of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition

There are a number of mental health conditions that may have anxiety as a symptom which include:

  • Major depressive disorders- Depression and anxiety have a strong relationship between them. They often tend to be interconnected
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder- The anxiety that follows a traumatic event
  • Substance use disorders- Anxiety can lead to the usage of substance abuse

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

The way one experiences anxiety may differ from person to person but the common symptoms include racing of the heart, butterflies or churning of the stomach, difficulty in breathing or dissociating.

The symptoms of anxiety can include:

  1. Anxious or what if thoughts; worrying about situations that are out of control
  2. Restlessness
  3. Fatigue
  4. Difficulty falling asleep
  5. Unexplained body pains
  6. Irritability

Anxiety can present itself in various ways. It becomes important to be mindful of the symptoms and if it is hindering you from performing your day to day activities.

What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack?

Whether or not you know how a panic attack or anxiety attack feels like, you must have heard of them. There is a difference between panic and anxiety attacks although they might sound and seem similar to the majority. To understand the difference let us first explore what each of these attacks are in detail.

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that causes severe physical symptoms like sweating , shortness of breath, chills, hot flashes and so on. It often peaks within 5 to 20 minutes.

The physical symptoms can feel like a heart attack and it may get worse if one is more worried or feels frantic that it is a heart attack. Panic attacks and its symptoms can vary from person to person and they can even change over a period of time.

The common symptoms of a panic attack include:

  1. Fear of losing control
  2. Nausea
  3. Sweating
  4. Hot flashes
  5. Numbness and tingling of hands, face and feet
  6. Churning or upset stomach
  7. Feeling of impending doom
  8. Sudden weakness in the body
  9. Fear of dying
  10. Shortness of breath

The reason or the trigger for the panic attack is often unknown at least at that moment.

You can experience panic attacks and anxiety attacks at the same time. For example, you could be experiencing anxiety about some stressful situation and maybe, when the situation arrives, it can cause a panic attack.

There is an overlap in the symptoms that one faces during a panic and anxiety attack, therefore there can be a difficulty in identifying or differentiating the attack from one another. But understanding the following aspects can help in being more mindful and knowing what you are experiencing;

  1. Cause: More than often, anxiety is related to something that is viewed as stressful or threatening. On the other hand panic attacks are not always triggered or cued by stressors.
  2. Intensity: Anxiety attack is not sudden. It can be something you could be undergoing while you are carrying on with your day but panic attack comes out of the blue.
  3. Physical Symptoms: Comparatively, the physical symptoms of a panic attack are much more severe and intense than an anxiety attack.
  4. Time Frame: Potentially, an anxiety attack can last longer than panic attacks, Sometimes depending on the severity, an anxiety attack can last for days.

What are the treatments for anxiety?

There are two major treatments present for treating an anxiety disorder. One being medication and the other being psychotherapy. It is suggested and said that one can benefit the most from the combination of these two.

Under psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is considered to be the most effective form to treat anxiety disorders. It emphasises on changing the perception of the individual and teaching or figuring out coping mechanisms that are healthy and work best for the individual.

Various types of medications are used to treat or help with the symptoms depending on the individual’s experience with the anxiety disorder. It is essential to note that certain antidepressants are also used to treat or manage anxiety disorders, as mentioned earlier, depression and anxiety are interconnected. Sometimes, the psychiatrist can prescribe medication that acts as an sos, for emergencies.

Is anxiety disorder curable?

Anxiety disorder is not curable. It is manageable. If one can see the thoughts that seem real getting triggered and the anxiety response when it is present, they can manage themselves in dealing with Anxiety way more effectively. Getting the right treatment for your anxiety is important. The psychiatrist will work with you and find what medication works the best for you, helping you manage the symptoms. While your symptoms are being managed through medication, therapy helps you in shifting perceptions and learning to cope healthily.

Although ordinary anxiety is normal, if you find yourself struggling with anxiety for a long period of time and to an extreme that it is affecting your daily life, consult a mental health professional.

If you find yourself struggling with anxiety on a daily basis and have difficulty in functioning, it is essential to consult a psychiatrist. Time and again we are reluctant to seek help for mental health because of the stigma surrounding it. Mental health is just as important as physical health.We at Zoi have a psychiatry department where we have been relentlessly working on challenging the stigma around mental health. You are welcome to reach out to us, where you matter, for any kind of mental health profession help.


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