Strictly by definition, anxiety refers to a combination of negative emotions including apprehension and fear. Anxiety can lead to physical symptoms such as nausea, trembling, chills, pale skin, chest pains and a shortness of breath.
While everyone becomes anxious at some point in their life (or even their daily routine) many people also suffer from anxiety disorders, where the conditions are chronic rather than just occasional bouts due to stress.
What causes anxiety, both in everyday life and in the case of anxiety disorder? Stress leads to anxiety – a fear of something to come, something that has already happened or is happening that one has no control over. Anytime a person becomes afraid, for his or her own security or that a loved one, this can lead to tremendous anxiety. Emotional and physical dangers are constant in life and so one is rightfully concerned with the welfare of the family.
Anxiety can also be caused by apprehension, or other forms of general uneasiness with an unfamiliar situation. Many people are afraid to speak in front of crowds or to be the center of attention in any way. Oddly enough, polls consistently show that more people are afraid of speaking in front of a large group than they are of dying.
Anxiety disorders, the chronic condition of anxiety, is caused by other physical conditions. It may be genetic or it may be caused by some form of past trauma. There are a few types of anxiety disorders including general anxiety, panic attack disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and various types of phobias, or specific fears.
Stress is just a part of life, and so people who suffer from occasional bouts of stress choose to live with the anxiety attacks without treatment and better organize their life to handle unexpected setbacks. However, sometimes living with the anxiety is simply not an option.
Some people are constantly surrounded by negative emotions, whether they are caretakers of a mentally ill family member or have had some other form of trauma affect them. Some forms of trauma may even be recurring, thus forcing the sufferer to seek some kind of treatment to cope with the anxiety or perhaps even the anxiety disorder.
Medication is one frequent solution. Valium is one kind of anti-anxiety medication, along with other drugs such as Klonopin and Xanax which are based on Valium’s scientific formula. However, these drugs have shown the possibility, though not always the consistency, that they are addictive in nature.
There is also the option of psychotherapy to treat such disorders. Although it can be argued that psychotherapy is also addictive, in that the patient needs constant attention to treat the problem, it can be a far healthier solution than taking potentially addictive medication.
There are also alternative forms of treatment such as herbal supplements, self-help and relaxation techniques. What is important is that a chronic sufferer of anxiety seek treatment rather than live in constant mental duress.