Emotional Distress and Anxiety Disorders

emotional distress

Everyone experiences Emotional Distress and Anxiety at times. People may feel nervous or anxious when they have to make an important decision, face a problem at work or prior to taking a test. However, Anxiety Disorders are different. They can cause a great deal of Emotional Distress and even reduce the capability of a person to go through life in the normal way as other people do.

Emotional Distress

This symptom can be caused through, Erratic sleep patterns, Anger management issues, General stressful situations, Depression, Phobias, and Anxiety disorders, all of which can be detrimental to your health, both Physically and Mentally if not acted upon

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Disorders can be termed as a serious mental illness and people suffering from this condition experience overwhelming worry and constant fear and certainly emotional distress.

Psychologists have identified seven categories of anxiety disorders, which can cause emotional distress as follows:

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder criteria that are used for diagnosing the condition are specified in the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Health providers may also do a physical examination and order blood, urine or other tests if the presence of a medical condition is suspected to diagnose DSM generalized anxiety disorder. A generalized anxiety disorder test may also involve answering psychological questionnaires for a proper evaluation of the condition.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a commonly occurring chronic disorder which is characterized by anxiety that is long lasting, but is not focused on one situation or object. People suffering from this disorder experience persistent worry and fear.

2. Panic Disorder (PD)

Panic disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks and may involve significant behavioral changes that last for at least one month. People suffering from this disorder may experience ongoing worry about having other attacks.

The severity of the condition is assessed using the Panic Disorder Severity Scale, which consists of a questionnaire and is administered by a clinician. The scale consists of 7 items each of which are rated on a scale of 0 to 4. A score of 9 or above suggests the need to go in for a formal assessment to diagnose the condition.

Panic disorder, a serious illness, can be treated successfully though it cannot be cured. Treatment for panic disorder includes positive self-talk and cognitive behavioral therapy. According to studies, 85 percent to 90 percent of patients subjected to these types of panic disorder treatment recover completely in about 12 weeks.

Agoraphobia refers to fear of getting caught in places from where it is difficult to escape. People avoid places and situations where they have experienced panic attacks earlier. Therefore, this condition can be categorized into two: “Panic disorder with agoraphobia and panic disorder without agoraphobia.”

3.Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD)

Post Traumatic Stress disorder develops in a person who is exposed to one or several traumatic events. This can include sexual assault, warfare, threats of imminent death and serious injury. In DSM-5, this disorder is classified as stress- and trauma-related disorder. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by long-term exposure to interpersonal and/or social trauma due to captivity or entrapment. However, the American Psychiatric Association has not accepted it as a mental disorder and it is not listed in DSM 5. Treatment for post traumatic stress disorder includes cognitive-behavioral therapy. Natural remedies for this disorder include homeopathic and herbal remedies, which help to relieve anxiety, stress and other feelings.

4: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by fears and thoughts that are unreasonable. These obsessions lead people into doing repetitive behaviors such as excessive cleaning or washing, repeated checking, etc., in order to reduce their anxiety. A person may have only obsessions or compulsions, but can still suffer from OCD. An obsessive-compulsive disorder test, which involves answering a set of questions, is made use of to screen patients and decide whether further assessment/investigation is required or not.

” What is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder ? “

A person with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder will be preoccupied with perfectionism, orderliness, interpersonal and mental control and the need to exercise power over his/her own environment at the cost of flexibility, efficiency and openness. This disorder is distinctly different from OCD. Both the disorders may appear similar from outside, but their attitude of people with these disorders would be different.

5: Specific Phobias can Cause Emotional Distress

Many people experience fear or anxiety about certain situations, activities, objects or animals. It is only a rational response, but some people exaggerate the danger irrationally. Their fear would be disproportionate to the actual threat. Excessive reactions often point towards the existence of a specific phobia. People who suffer from specific phobias may be aware of the fact that their fears are not only exaggerated, but also irrational. However, they often react automatically. Specific phobias are associated with panic attacks and the sufferer experiences pounding of heart, choking, nausea, dizziness, perspiration, chest pain, etc.

6. Agoraphobia

A person suffering from agoraphobia, a form of anxiety disorder, experiences fear and often tries to avoid situations or places that can cause him/her to panic and feel helpless, trapped or embarrassed.

Agoraphobia Symptoms: Fear of being left alone in crowded or difficult-to-leave places, situations, losing control, etc., are some of the symptoms of agoraphobia. Persons suffering from this phobia may show signs of a panic attack such as increased heart rate, excessive perspiration, dizziness, upset stomach, etc., when faced with such situations.

Treatment for Agoraphobia: Cognitive behavioral treatments that include exposure, cognitive restructuring and relaxation techniques are effective agoraphobia treatment options. Eye movement desensitization and reprogramming and support or self-help groups are alternate treatment that can be considered.

” How to Overcome Agoraphobia? “

Agoraphobia is a treatable problem. To overcome agoraphobia, the sufferers should be willing to change and educate themselves as to what the phobia actually is all about. Reducing caffeine consumption also helps to a great extent.

7: Social Phobia -Intrusive phobia causing emotional distress

Social phobia refers to the strong fear of being embarrassed and judged by others. This fear can prevent people from going to school, work or doing other day-to-day things. A social phobia test helps to assess as to how this disorder is affecting the life of the sufferer in varied situations.

” What Causes Social Phobia? “

The possible causes of this phobia include inherited traits, brain structure (overactive amygdala) and the environment itself.

” Social Phobia Symptoms “

The symptoms of social phobia include feelings of discomfort or shyness in certain situations, concern that the sufferer would offend someone, physical symptoms such as fast heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, and avoidance of normal social situations.

” Social Phobia Treatment “

Psychotherapy is effective in treating social phobia. Cognitive behavioral treatments include such techniques as cognitive restructuring, exposure therapy and social skills training.

” How to Overcome Social Phobia “

Suggestions for overcoming social phobia without the use of medications include use of a self-help manual, working with a therapist, practicing deep breathing on a daily basis, creating an exposure hierarchy and writing out objective goals.

Anxiety is the natural response of the body to stress. Everyone experiences it at times. However, some people experience extreme anxiety that lasts for more than six months and may interfere with their normal life. Such people must seek help. Though anxiety disorder is not curable, it can be treated or managed in many ways, including natural remedies, so that the sufferer is able to lead a normal life. Treating Anxiety will help alleviate emotional distress.