|Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive worry about 2 or more life circumstances for a period of 6 months or longer. Biological and genetic factors may combine with stress to produce psychological symptoms.|
As part of National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week I want to talk to you about anxiety disorders. This is something that affects me personally. A lot of society wants to sweep it under the rug, but it is a serious issue and needs to be addressed.
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety, worry, and stress are all a part of most people's life today. But simply experiencing anxiety or stress in and of itself does not mean you need to get professional help or you have an anxiety disorder. In fact, anxiety is a necessary warning signal of a dangerous or difficult situation. Without anxiety, we would have no way of anticipating difficulties ahead and preparing for them.
Anxiety becomes a disorder when the symptoms become chronic and interfere with our daily lives and our ability to function. People suffering from chronic anxiety often report the following symptoms:
Fear or confusion
Inability to relax
Shortness of breath
These symptoms are severe and upsetting enough to make individuals feel extremely uncomfortable, out of control and helpless.
Anxiety disorders fall into a set of separate diagnoses, depending upon the symptoms and severity of the anxiety the person experiences. The anxiety disorders discussed in this series on anxiety are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Panic Disorder (including panic attacks)
Social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder)
Specific phobias (also known as simple phobias)
Although obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are considered anxiety disorders, they are covered elsewhere independently on Psych Central.
Info from Psych Central.
You can learn more by going to Anxiety Disorders.
Anxiety Disorder and Menopause:
This is the category I fall into. As a menopausal women I suffer from anxiety disorder. Because I am unable to medicate I have to live with it. My anxiety disorder is social phobia. I have a difficult time being around people in general. I tend to pick situations where I am not around a lot of people(even in the work place).
Here's an important fact from Psych Central: Research indicates that women outnumber men three to two among those with symptoms of social phobia. Men, however, have been more likely to seek treatment.
It is a sad fact, but I think women want to sweep it under the rug. They don't want to admit anything is wrong with them. I know I didn't!
I've suffered from social phobia most of my life(as far back as I can remember). Life for me hasn't been easy. It wasn't a picnic(it was the ants). It wasn't a bed of roses(it was the thrones).
When I became menopausal it became worse. I felt as if my world was crashing in. I couldn't breath. It felt like a boulder was sitting on my chest. Over the past year my anxiety has quelled somewhat, but I still have my days when life becomes overwhelming and I want to stay in bed with the covers over my head. Some days I still have thoughts I shouldn't have, but I have learned to deal with it. It's something they may or may not subside. Anxiety disorder is part of my life now. It's taken root and it lives and breaths inside of me...
More about anxiety disorder and menopause:
Sex hormones, menopause, and anxiety. Women are more than twice as likely as men to feel anxiety, especially during PMS, perimenopause, and menopause. Anxiety is often the first sign of perimenopause — for example, women with moderate anxiety are three to five times more likely to experience hot flashes. Many women also experience rampant anxiety symptoms when transitioning off HRT.
Progesterone has a particularly soothing effect on your system similar to, and interdependent with, serotonin. When levels begin to drop as a woman approach menopause, this can leave her susceptible to anxiety-related problems, including insomnia. As women approach menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels often fluctuate widely, amplifying any existing anxiety symptoms. In my experience, relief from menopausal anxiety and panic attacks can only be gained once hormonal balance is restored.
To learn more about Menopause and Mood Disorders click here.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The fews expressed in this post are my own.