A Heartbeat In Your Throat
Another unsettling feeling you can trace back to your ancestor’s danger response is that weird heartbeat in your throat you get sometimes. While you may feel like a character in a scary movie from this, it’s likely you’re just experiencing a symptom of anxiety.
“Another expression of the fight-or-flight response is heart palpitations,” licensed marriage and family therapist Lauren McCown, tells Bustle. “In fact, cardiologists are some of an anxiety therapist’s best referral sources. You can actually feel heart palpitations in your throat, your neck, or your chest. This is very unsettling for anxiety sufferers.” Any heart palpitations are important to check out with a doctor, but with attention, they can become a good way to understand what makes you anxious and when.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Anxiety
Anxiety is a response to uncertainty and danger, and the trigger can be almost anything, or nothing in particular, just a generalized, vague sense of dread or misfortune. High on the list of anxiety-generating situations is having to give a talk or presentation or being called on in class, where people risk loss of social standing by being judged negatively.
People can feel anxious because their neural circuitry has become so sensitized it perceives threat where it doesnt exist. Too, there are substancescaffeine is oneand medications that stimulate the same physical sensations as anxiety. People differ in their susceptibility to anxiety, as a result of their biological makeup, their parental inheritance, their own life history, personality factors, and the coping skills they acquire or cultivate.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a word that describes feelings of apprehension, concern, fear, nervousness, restlessness, or worry. Normal feelings of anxiety often serve as an alarm system that alerts you to danger. Your heart may beat fast. Your palms may get sweaty. Anxiety can provide an extra spark to help you get out of danger. It also can give you the energy to get things done in normal, busy situations. These occasional worries are normal.
Generalized anxiety disorder is ongoing anxiety that isnt related to a particular event or situation. It also can be anxiety that isnt normal about a situation. For instance, a person who has GAD may constantly worry about something thats unlikely to happen. These worries interfere with your day-to-day life.
Women are more likely to have GAD than men. GAD usually begins to affect people in their teens and early 20s.
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Why Are You Anxious
Before we can begin to help you get over that constant feeling of dread, trepidation and nervousness, we need to know how and when it started. Then you can be clear about how best you can help yourself.
Have you always suffered?Did it appear out of the blue?Did it start after some kind of trauma?Has it built up over time and you now have chronic anxiety?Does it come on in waves?Do you often feel youre anxious for no real reason?
It makes a big difference whether or not the onset of your anxiety is due to a sudden event.
What Causes Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Suppose the fire alarm goes off in your home. You race around frantically to find the fire. Instead, you find there is no fire. The alarm just isnt working properly.
Its the same with anxiety disorders. Your body mistakenly triggers your alarm system when there is no danger. Most of us have some stresses in life or things that cause us to feel stressed. But those with GAD have the alarm going off frequently or all the time, even if they cannot identify a trigger. This may be due to a chemical imbalance in your body. It may also be related to:
- An unconscious memory.
- A side effect of a medicine.
- An illness.
You also could have symptoms if your thyroid gland is too active. Depression can also cause them. GAD sometimes runs in families.
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What Are The Differences
Here are some of the features that distinguish them.
An anxiety attack, or anxiety:
- can have a specific trigger, such as an exam, workplace issues, a health issue, or a relationship problem
- is not a diagnosable condition
- is less severe than a panic attack
- usually develops gradually when a person feels anxious
- involves physical symptoms, such as a racing heart or knot in the stomach
A panic attack:
- often occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and last between a few minutes and an hour, although the negative impact may continue
The term anxiety attack is not listed in the American Psychological Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition .
Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to the primary symptom of excessive and irrational fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread.
- Watching for signs of danger.
- Anticipating the worst.
- Feeling like your minds gone blank.
But anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the bodys fight-or-flight response, it also involves a wide range of physical symptoms, including:
- Pounding heart.
- Shaking or trembling.
Because of these physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is finally recognized.
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Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented
You cant prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:
- Check out medications: Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies. Some of these contain chemicals that may make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Limit caffeine: Stop or limit how much caffeine you consume, including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Seek help: Get counseling and support if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. Doing so can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
What Is The Difference Between Fear And Anxiety
Anxiety differs from fear in several important ways. Fear is a response to present danger it is usually highly focused, attached to a very specific thing or circumstance, and meant to mobilize fast action. Anxiety doesnt require an external stimulus it is a response to real or imagined future threat, and it is typically more diffuse, setting in motion the need for constant vigilance in anticipation of some calamity. Fear is contagious, marked by characteristic featureswidened pupils, pale skin that signal others to be afraid. Anxiety is highly subjective. While anxiety shares some of the physiological signs of fearheightened awareness and fast heart rate, similarly set off by the hormones of the stress responseit carries a heavy cognitive load of worry, a form of rumination about what might possibly go wrong in the future.
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Dealing With The Symptoms Quickly And Effectively
The best way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety quickly is to calm yourself with the aid of a . You can listen to the soothing voice of a professional hypnotherapist in the comfort of your own home.
Best of all, each time you listen, you not only reduce the symptoms right away, but you build on its success bringing you one step closer to recovery.
At the same time, challenge yourself to continue to take steps out of your comfort zone in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Make The Necessary Life
Your anxiety is much less likely to rear its ugly head in the future if you commit to making lifestyle changes that protect your body, mind and environment from damage.
Now Im going to refer you to my page on how to get over a nervous breakdown.
I wrote that article for people who are on the far end of the scale with their anxiety theyve had a complete burn-out.
They may or may not have previously suffered from excessive stress or anxiety, but the advice for you is the same as it is for them.
Be sure to also visit my article on how to treat anxiety symptoms.
Next enlist your partners support
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What Biological Factors Influence Anxiety
The state of a persons health, past or present, plays a large role in triggering anxiety. Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at risk of constant worry about getting sick or sudden death. In fact, having a heart attack is known to raise the risk of health anxiety by 20 to 30 percent. People with breathing problems such as asthma or who have severe allergies to common substances may live with chronic worry about exposure to triggering substances. Some people are highly sensitive to internal body sensationsinteroceptionand may devote so much mental energy to monitoring, say, their heartbeats that every variation becomes a source of doubt and concern. A large number of peoplein some estimates, as many as 20 percent of the populationare said to be highly sensitive having a low threshold of nervous system arousal, they overrespond to both internal and external stimuli and can be easily overwhelmed emotionally. Their reactivity is linked to the personality trait of neuroticism, one of the strongest risk factors for anxiety.
Social Anxiety Disorder And The Brain
Brain scans have revealed that people with social anxiety disorder suffer from hyperactivity in a part of the brain known as the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for the physiological changes associated with the flight-or-fight response, which mobilizes the body to respond to perceived threats, real or imagined.
Action in the amygdala triggers an avalanche of symptoms identified with intense anxiety, including rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, respiratory excitement, muscle tightening, a surge in blood sugar levels, and a freezing of the brain that leaves anxiety sufferers unable to think or reason normally.
When people experience a surge of anxiety, mental focus shifts to a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. It is the job of the prefrontal cortex to calm those reactions by assessing them rationally and calmly, and if no real threat is present it is supposed to send signals to the amygdala that defuse its anxious response.
But in social anxiety sufferers, the prefrontal cortex actually amplifies the activity of the amygdala instead of calming it. People with social anxiety have such an entrenched fear of other peoples reactions that their brains interpret social interactions as legitimate threats, and no amount of rational reflection can completely soothe those fears.
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What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have an anxiety disorder, ask your provider:
- Whats the best treatment for me?
- Do I need medication? What type?
- How long should I take medication?
- What type of psychotherapy will work best?
- What else can I do to manage my symptoms?
- What other conditions am I at risk for?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An anxiety disorder can make it difficult to get through your day. Anxiety disorder symptoms include feelings of nervousness, panic and fear. You may also have physical symptoms such as sweating and a rapid heartbeat. But you dont need to live like this. Several effective anxiety disorder treatments are available. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out your diagnosis and the best treatment plan. Often, treatment combines medications and therapy. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, together with CBT, can help you feel your best.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
Differences In How They Start
Anxiety can be a response to a specific worry or fear. It tends to develop gradually, and a person is usually worried or concerned at the outset. It can be mild, moderate or severe. There may be a sense that if only this problem can be solved, everything will be all right.
A panic attack can happen without warning, and there is no way to prevent it. It can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious, and even during sleep. There is often no obvious cause, and the level of fear is out of proportion to the trigger. In fact, according to the APA, the reaction is unrelated to the situation.
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How Can I Tell If My Child Has An Anxiety Disorder Or If They Are Just Anxious
All kids experience anxiety. Certain fears and worries are typical for specific age groups. For example, young children are often afraid of loud noises, strangers, the dark, and imaginary figures. Most of these fears will disappear as the child gets older. However, if these fears or other worries get so big that they begin to interfere with a childs daily functioning , they may have an anxiety disorder.
Who Is Prone To Anxiety
To a large degree, people who are prone to clinical depression are also vulnerable to clinical anxiety. The conditions have many features in common. Chief among them is a history of adverse childhood experience, such as abuse or neglect. The reason is that maltreatment can indelibly alter the stress system so that it is hypersensitive to danger and reacts with an outpouring of alarm signals that overwhelm the capacity for emotion processing. Scoring high on the personality trait of neuroticism also inclines an individual to anxiety. Neuroticism reflects a tendency to respond to stressful experiences most readily and intensely with negative emotions and to perceive threats where they do not exist. In addition, people who lack the skills of emotion regulation are vulnerable to anxiety they can be easily overwhelmed by situations that create uncertainty or stir any negative feelings.
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What Causes Anxiety Disorders
We dont fully understand what causes anxiety disorders. But it is thought that the following factors can cause anxiety.
Genetics. Some people seem to be born more anxious than others. You may get anxiety through your genes.
Life experience. This could be bad experiences such as being abused or losing a loved one. It could also include big changes in life such as moving home, losing your job or pregnancy.
Drugs. Caffeine in coffee and alcohol can make you feel anxious. Illegal drugs, also known as street drugs can also have an effect.
Circumstances. Sometimes you know what is causing your anxiety. When the problem goes, so does your anxiety.
Excretory And Digestive Systems
Anxiety also affects your excretory and digestive systems. You may have stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Loss of appetite can also occur.
There may be a connection between anxiety disorders and the development of irritable bowel syndrome after a bowel infection. IBS can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
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Information For Carers Friends And Relatives
If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who hears voices, you can get support.
How can I get support?
You can do the following.
- Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
- Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
- Ask for a carers assessment from your local social services.
- Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
- Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.
What is a carers assessment?A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role. To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.
How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.
How can I support the person I care for?
You can do the following.
- Read information about anxiety disorders.
- Ask the person you support to tell you what their symptoms are and if they have any self-management techniques that you could help them with.
- Encourage them to see a GP if you are worried about their mental health.
- Ask to see a copy of their care plan, if they have one. They should have a care plan if they are supported by a care coordinator.
- Help them to manage their finances.
You can find out more about:
What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Worrying and the symptoms of anxiety can creep up on you gradually. This can make it hard to know how much worrying is too much.
Some common anxiety symptoms include:
- hot and cold flushes
- snowballing worries that get bigger and bigger
- a racing mind full of thoughts
- a constant need to check things are right or clean
- persistent worrying ideas that seem ‘silly or crazy’ .
If you think you have any of these symptoms, you might want to look at the different types of anxiety disorders below.
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When To See Your Gp
Talk to your GP if the symptoms have made everyday activities difficult for you.
They’ll ask you to:
- how often the symptoms occur
- how long you have had the symptoms
They may also carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions.
It can be difficult to talk to someone else about your feelings, emotions and personal life. Try not to feel anxious or embarrassed.
You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you have experienced:
- at least two unexpected panic attacks
- at least a month of continuous worry or concern about having further attacks
Anxiety Attack Symptoms Include:
- Feeling of losing control or going crazy.
- Heart palpitations or chest pain.
- Feeling like youre going to pass out.
- Trouble breathing or choking sensation.
- Nausea or stomach cramps.
- Feeling detached or unreal.
Its important to seek help if youre starting to avoid certain situations because youre afraid of having a panic attack. The truth is that panic attacks are highly treatable. In fact, many people are panic free within just 5 to 8 treatment sessions.
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