Have you ever experienced anxiety?
If you are like most people, anxiety is a normal thing. Living with anxiety in America is not uncommon.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common illnesses in the United States and affect more than 40 million people nationwide. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet less than 40% of people actively seek treatment.
With such a large amount of people suffering from anxiety…
Where does it come from?
Anxiety disorders can stem from genetics, brain chemistry, life events and personality.
Unfortunately… anxiety affects all ages.
Children and teens tend to experience heightened anxiety symptoms when doing something that may be foreign to them.
Kids entering a new school or watching a scary movie can be put in a stressful situation. However, this behavior is considered a phase or a temporary fear. Many of us would consider this phase associated with temporary behaviors.
Unfortunately, for many teens and children living with anxiety, these behaviors are not a phase, but a way of life.
Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 8 children and oftentimes coexist with other instabilities like ADHD and eating disorders.
What Exactly Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as a “nervousness or sense of apprehension that develops from specific behaviors that can trigger unpleasant sensations.”
Although anxiety is a naturally occurring behavior and can help us to recognize potentially dangerous situations, a person suffering from an anxiety attack will experience something completely out of the ordinary.
An anxiety attack causes sufferers to have shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness and sweating. These symptoms tend to last for only a few minutes. Imagine having sensations of overwhelming fear followed by a rush of heart palpitations, sweating and trembling.
This is what an anxiety attack feels like!
Anxiety disorder range in different types. Some of the most recognizable being PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs when an individual experiences a traumatic event (war, violence, abuse, etc.) which causes them to have flashbacks and difficulty relaxing.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs when a person has ongoing unwanted thoughts and distresses which cause them to perform certain rituals and habits in an effort to satiate these feelings.
Someone with this disorder may need to touch their doorknob a specific amount of times (usually an odd or even number) before leaving their house.
But that’s not all…
GAD or general anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of the illness, resulting in the person having constant feelings of worriedness, fear and general panic. Phobias can also initiate anxiety attacks due to the stress on the psyche when presented with the feared object or notion.
For example, someone with agoraphobia (fear of leaving the home) who is seeking treatment may stand outside their home before venturing out. This change in routine and fear may be so undesirable, they may have an anxiety attack.
What can be done to help stop anxiety?
Anxiety and The Endocannabinoid System
You may be wondering…
What is the endocannabinoid system?
It is a signaling system that allows our cells and organs to communicate with each other in order to balance overall activity and energy consumption.
This results in what we call homeostasis; a healthy state of balance within our body.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent conditions!
Cannabinoids are natural compounds your body produces which keeps your endocannabinoid system in balance.
For people struggling with anxiety, learning about the endocannabinoid system is a great place to start.
Anxiety Awareness Month
The first two weeks of May is devoted to children suffering from anxiety and depression while the last two weeks are devoted to adults.
The color that represents mental health and wellness is lime green and many supporters wear the color to exhibit understanding and consciousness during May.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, seek help, talk to a professional and know that you are not alone!