a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.“he felt a surge of anxiety”synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, inquietude, perturbation,agitation, angst, misgiving, nervousness, nerves, tension, tenseness.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention. Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives. . But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.
How Common Are Anxiety Disorders?
In any given year the estimated percent of U.S. adults with various anxiety disorders are:
- 7 to 9 percent: specific phobia
- 7 percent: social anxiety disorder
- 2 to 3 percent: panic disorder
- 2 percent: agoraphobia
- 2 percent: generalized anxiety disorder
- 1 to 2 percent: separation anxiety disorder
Women are more likely than men to experience anxiety disorders.
Anxiety refers to anticipation of a future concern and is more associated with muscle tension and avoidance behavior.
Fear is an emotional response to an immediate threat and is more associated with a fight or flight reaction – either staying to fight or leaving to escape danger.
Anxiety disorders can cause people into try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. Job performance, school work and personal relationships can be affected.
In general, for a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the fear or anxiety must:
- Be out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate
- Hinder your ability to function normally
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder involves persistent and excessive worry that interferes with daily activities. This ongoing worry and tension may be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as restlessness, feeling on edge or easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension or problems sleeping. Often the worries focus on everyday things such as job responsibilities, family health or minor matters such as chores, car repairs, or appointments.
The core symptom of panic disorder is recurrent panic attacks, an overwhelming combination of physical and psychological distress. During an attack several of these symptoms occur in combination:
- Palpitations, pounding heart or rapid heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling of shortness of breath or smothering sensations
- Chest pain
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint
- Feeling of choking
- Numbness or tingling
- Chills or hot flashes
- Nausea or abdominal pains
- Feeling detached
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of dying
Because symptoms are so severe, many people who experience a panic attack may believe they are having a heart attack or other life-threatening illness and may go to a hospital ER. Panic attacks may be expected, such as a response to a feared object, or unexpected, apparently occurring for no reason. The mean age for onset of panic disorder is 22-23. Panic attacks may occur with other mental disorders such as depression or PTSD.
Phobias, Specific Phobia
A specific phobia is excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation or activity that is generally not harmful. Patients know their fear is excessive, but they can’t overcome it. These fears cause such distress that some people go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear. Examples are fear of flying or fear of spiders.
Agoraphobia is the fear of being in situations where escape may be difficult or embarrassing, or help might not be available in the event of panic symptoms. The fear is out of proportion to the actual situation and lasts generally six months or more and causes problems in functioning. A person with agoraphobia experiences this fear in two or more of the following situations:
- Using public transportation
- Being in open spaces
- Being in enclosed places
- Standing in line or being in a crowd
- Being outside the home alone
The individual actively avoids the situation, requires a companion or endures with intense fear or anxiety. Untreated agoraphobia can become so serious that a person may be unable to leave the house. A person can only be diagnosed with agoraphobia if the fear is intensely upsetting, or if it significantly interferes with normal daily activities.
Social Anxiety Disorder (previously called social phobia)
A person with social anxiety disorder has significant anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or looked down on in social interactions. People with this disorder will try to avoid the situation or endure it with great anxiety. Common examples are extreme fear of public speaking, meeting new people or eating/drinking in public. The fear or anxiety causes problems with daily functioning and lasts at least six months.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
A person with separation anxiety disorder is excessively fearful or anxious about separation from those with whom he or she is attached. The feeling is beyond what is appropriate for the person’s age, persists (at least four weeks in children and six months in adults) and causes problems functioning. A person with separation anxiety disorder may be persistently worried about losing the person closest to him or her, may be reluctant or refuse to go out or sleep away from home or without that person, or may experience nightmares about separation. Physical symptoms of distress often develop in childhood, but symptoms can carry though adulthood.
– About 1.7% of the adult U.S. population ages 18 to 54 – approximately 2.4 million Americans – has panic disorder in a given year. Women are twice as likely as men to develop panic disorder. Panic disorder typically strikes in young adulthood.
Massage for Anxiety Disorders
One way to reduce the symptoms of GAD is through massage therapy. … Therapeutic massage can be helpful in reducing anxiety and stress. Massage was shown to promote relaxation and alleviate pain and anxiety in hospitalized cancer patients. Massage therapy can act to cleanse the body of impurities.
Massage Therapy Helps Control Anxiety
Massage therapy is excellent in managing anxiety because it has been proven to address two of the most significant symptoms of anxiety: massage therapy reduces sleep disturbances and insomnia, and reduces pain from muscle tension.
Massage Therapy Improves Sleep
Sleep is a vital function. During sleep both the body and mind repair and regenerate. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on our mental functions and emotional state, as anyone who has lost a night of sleep well knows! Sleep disturbances have significant adverse effects on the immune system, the nervous system and ability to concentrate as well as our overall energy levels.
Sleep is a critical function and not sleeping results in mood swings, the inability to function and difficulty in the ability to concentrate. The areas in the brain that control emotions, decision-making and social interactions all require sleep to repair and regenerate. When we do not get enough sleep, or do not sleep deep enough for long enough, we begin to lose our ability to think straight and begin to feel anxiety and depression.
Massage therapy has been shown to improve sleep, and therefore reduce the overall symptoms of anxiety. Massage therapy reduces overall stress, and has been proven to improve sleep in children, in cancer patients and in those who suffer from fibromyalgia. In studies, massage therapy has demonstrated to significantly improve the ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep in those who suffer from a variety of conditions – including anxiety.
By improving sleep, many other symptoms begin to show improvement:
- concentration improves
- fatigue lessens
- pain is reduced
- the emotional state improves (this is critical for those who suffer from anxiety)
Massage Therapy Reduces Pain
Massage therapy has also been proven in reducing pain, and is especially useful in reducing muscle tension and pain. Swedish massage, or long gliding strokes, offers greater stress and pain reduction and improved quality and quantity of sleep – while deep tissue massage techniques, including ischemic compression, do more to reduce pain and muscle tension by releasing tension and trigger points. Massage therapy acts to increase circulation, flushing out lactic acid and bringing in fresh oxygen rich blood. Deep tissue techniques may also include friction to break up adhesion’s and stretching to lengthen muscle fibers and tissue, restoring range of motion.
Can Massage Help Anxiety Depression?
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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