by Kyle Boshoff

Lifestyle related stress

Anxiously tackling the issue of anxiety

Lifestyle related stress
Anxiously tackling the issue of anxiety

Anxiety affects people differently. It takes on different forms and has varying degrees of severity. Some people get severely anxious when not in familiar surroundings, while others have anxiety attacks when reliving past trauma. 


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Traumatic life experiences, such as a death in the family or an accident, can do more damage to some people than they do for others. Some people who go through traumatic life experiences may develop an anxiety disorder called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This disorder is very common among people in the military or emergency services. As the name implies, this disorder develops over time after the traumatic event and the anxiety is usually triggered by a familiar event or when recalling the memory.

Some people with PTSD, when reliving the past event, can not only emotionally revisit the past event, but can also physically and mentally relive it. One of the biggest symptoms of PTSD is emotional detachment. It is usually a life-long disorder, but therapy may help deal with the past trauma. Breathing exercises may temporarily help reduce anxiety.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of the most destructive types of anxiety. People with OCD often exhibit unusual behaviour, such as a need to repeat a certain procedure, to do things in a very specific and systematic way or exhibit fear or paranoia. OCD is divided into two types of behaviours: compulsions and obsessions.

Compulsions are behaviour based OCD. These are things the person needs to do before proceeding to the next task, such as opening and closing the drawer a set number of times before taking out what is needed inside. Another compulsion would be to excessively make sure that the stove is switched off, even when they’ve checked it a few minutes ago. Some people’s OCD is so extreme that it interferes with their day to day life and overall life fulfilment.

Obsessesions are all in the mind. People with OCD often have a single thought in their mind and may not be able to let it go. An example of this would be that the neighbour’s dog always wants to bite them, yet the dog shows no intention to bite the person.

Some people with OCD have both and sometimes the two are connected e.g. if they don’t switch their bedroom light off and on a certain amount of times, they will have nightmares.

OCD is often treated with cognitive behavioural therapy. This therapy often includes a gradual incline of exposure to things linked to the obsession.

GAD

GAD, or Generalised Anxiety Disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders. It is defined as being constantly fearful or worried. Being scared of something or worried about someone or something, is a normal emotion, but the difference between normal worry and GAD is that GAD is usually more severe and more constant, affecting the persons day-to-day activities.

People with GAD often suffer from irritability, sleeping problems, muscle tension, nausea and sweating. As with many psychological disorders, the cause of GAD is mostly unknown. But it can occur in both adults and in children. Speak to your GP if you suspect you may be suffering from any of these concerns.

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