Anxiety is a natural adaptive mechanism that allows human beings to be alert to compromised events. A certain degree of anxiety provides an adequate component of caution in especially dangerous situations. Moderate anxiety can help people stay focused and face the challenges that lie ahead. Sometimes, however, the anxiety response system is overwhelmed and functions incorrectly. Anxiety is disproportionate to the situation and even, sometimes, occurs in the absence of any apparent danger.

The subject feels paralysed with a feeling of helplessness and, in general, a deterioration of the psychosocial and physiological functioning takes place. It is said that when anxiety occurs at inappropriate times or is so intense and lasting that it interferes with the normal activities of the person, then it is considered as a disorder.

Causes

  • Genetic causes: anxiety can be inherited through the genes. However, even someone who is not anxious by nature can experience this feeling of fear in a situation of tension.
  • Circumstantial causes: traumatic events such as a traffic accident, an attack or a fire can cause anxiety; the feeling of anxiety may disappear or remain for months or years. It is what is known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Drug use: Amphetamines, ecstasy or LSD are narcotic substances that can cause anxiety. For some people, caffeine can also produce it.
  • Significant life experiences: without becoming traumatic, vital changes in the present as a pregnancy, or even alterations in the workplace (a layoff, a promotion, etc.) can produce anxiety.

Symptoms

Anxiety manifests emotionally and physically. It is important to recognise both types of manifestations and go to the doctor as soon as they are detected, since a person with anxiety who experiences these symptoms may consider them as signs of a serious illness and, consequently, worsen in the disease.

Mental symptoms: constant worry, tiredness, irritability, and problems concentrating and falling asleep. Physical symptoms: high palpitations, excessive sweating, many tremors, being dizzy, many fainting, indigestion, and deep breathing.

Treatment

Drugs are the treatment of choice for generalised anxiety in Gold Coast. Anxiolytic drugs such as benzodiazepines are usually prescribed; however, because the long-term use of benzodiazepines can create dependence, if interruption is decided, it should be reduced step by step and not abruptly. The relief provided by benzodiazepines usually compensates for some slight side effects.

Buspirone is another effective drug for many people with generalised anxiety. Its use does not seem to lead to physical dependence. However, buspirone may take two weeks or more to take effect, in contrast to benzodiazepines, which begin to act within a few minutes.

Behavioural therapy is not usually beneficial because there are no clear situations that trigger anxiety. Relaxation and biofeedback techniques can help. Generalised anxiety can be associated with underlying psychological conflicts. These conflicts are often related to insecurities and self-critical attitudes that are self-destructive. For some people, psychotherapy can be effective in helping to understand and resolve internal psychological conflicts.

Prevention

To prevent anxiety, it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid the use of drugs and substances that cause it (caffeine, thein, and drugs such as ecstasy, amphetamines or LSD). Practicing physical exercise on a regular basis, especially in the open air, also helps to clear the mind and avoid anxious feelings. Relaxation techniques also help fight the onset of crises.