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What is Anxiety and How Can You Cope with it?

 
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Anxiety is a general term for many disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling; severe anxiety can be extremely debilitative, having a major impact on daily living.

Anxiety disorders may be caused by environmental factors, medical factors, genetics, brain chemistry, substance abuse, or a combination of these. It is most commonly triggered by the stress in our lives. Usually anxiety is a response to outside forces, but it is also possible that we make ourselves anxious with negative self-talk--a habit of always telling ourselves that the worst will happen.

Environmental factors that are known to cause several types of anxiety include:

• Childhood deprivation and parenting issues
• Trauma from events such as abuse, victimization, or the death of a loved one
• Stress in a personal relationship, marriage, friendship and divorce
• Stress from school
• Stress about finances and money
• Stress from a natural disaster
• Lack of oxygen in higher altitude areas

Anxiety is associated with medical factors such as anemia, asthma, infections, and several heart conditions. Some medically-related causes of anxiety include:

• Stress from a serious medical illness
• Side effects of medication
• Symptoms of a medical illness
• Lack of oxygen from emphysema or pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung)

Environmental factors that are known to cause many types of anxiety include:

• Childhood or adult trauma from events such as abuse, victimization, or death of a loved one
• Stress in a personal relationship, marriage, friendship, and divorce
• Stress at work
• Stress about financial issues and money
• Stress from a natural disaster
• Stress over time caused from cumulative events

Current Treatments for Anxiety Include:

Educating Yourself – Learn about what you can do to help yourself. Read books on anxiety, talk to a therapist or doctor. The more you know, the better you will be able to handle your symptoms.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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