What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness or fear of an event or situation. It is a normal reaction to stress. It helps you stay alert to a challenging situation at work, study more for an exam or concentrate on an important speech. Generally, it helps you deal with problems.
However, anxiety can incapacitate you if it interferes with your daily life, such as making you feel afraid of everyday non-threatening activities such as traveling by bus or talking with a colleague. Anxiety can also be presented as a sudden terror attack when there is no threat.
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders occur when excessive anxiety interferes with your daily activities such as going to work, attending classes or spending time with friends or family. Anxiety disorders are serious mental illnesses. They are the most common mental disorders in the United States. Women are suffering from anxiety disorders more than men.
The main types of anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
People with GAD are overly concerned with common and everyday problems, such as health, money, work, and family. With the TAG, the mind imagines the worst-case scenario, even when there is almost no reason to worry. Women who suffer from GAD may feel anxious simply by spending a day. They may suffer from muscle tension and other physical symptoms caused by stress, such as insomnia or stomach problems. Occasionally, worry prevents people with GAD from performing daily tasks. Women with GAD have a higher risk of depression and other anxiety disorders than men with GAD. They are also more likely to have a family history of depression.
- Panic disorder.
Panic disorders are twice as common in women as in men. People with panic disorders have sudden terror attacks when there is no real danger. Panic attacks can cause a sense of unreality, fear of impending doom or fear of losing control. Fear of unexplained physical symptoms is also a sign of the panic disorder. People who suffer from panic attacks sometimes believe they are suffering from a heart attack, going crazy or dying.
- Social phobia.
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become very anxious and are prohibited in everyday social situations. People with social phobia feel an intense fear of being observed and judged by others. They feel embarrassed easily and often suffer the symptoms of a panic attack.
- Specific phobia
A specific phobia is an intense fear of something that implies little or no risk. Specific phobias can be fears of closed places, heights, water, objects, animals or specific situations. People who have specific phobias generally discover that facing that dreaded object or situation, or even the idea of facing them, causes them to have a panic attack or severe anxiety.
What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorder in women?
Women with anxiety disorders have a combination of anxiety thoughts or beliefs, physical symptoms and behavioral changes, such as avoiding everyday activities they used to do. Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms. All involve fear and fear of things that could happen now or in the future.
Some of the physical symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Fast heart rate
- Upset stomach
- Hot flushes
The physical symptoms of anxiety disorders are usually accompanied by other mental or physical illnesses. This can mask your anxiety symptoms or make them worse.
If the treatment is a psychological consultancy, it will not affect your pregnancy.
If you must take medication to treat your anxiety disorder, talk to your doctor. Some medications used to treat anxiety can affect your fetus.
It depends. Some anxiety medications can pass through breast milk. Some antidepressants, such as SSRIs, can be taken during breastfeeding.
Do not stop taking your medication very suddenly. Talk to your doctor to find out what type of medications is best for you and your baby. Learn more about medications and breastfeeding in our Breastfeeding section. You can also enter your medication into the database to find out if the medication is transmitted through breast milk and learn about possible side effects for your newborn baby.
- Cardiovascular disease.
Anxiety and depression increase the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death for American women. Anxiety can make recovery difficult after a heart attack or stroke.
Certain studies link asthma with anxiety disorders. Stress and anxiety can cause asthma attacks, while difficulty breathing and gasping during an asthma attack can cause anxiety. Studies show that breathing training can help control asthma and lower anxiety.
What is the latest research?
Researchers are studying why women are more than twice as likely as men to develop anxiety and depression disorders. Changes in estrogens levels throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and her reproductive life (during the years in which women can have children) probably affect.
Researchers have also recently studied the hormone testosterone, which is present in men and women but generally with higher levels in men. In one study, they found that testosterone treatment had similar effects on anxiolytic and antidepressant medications for women.
Other studies focus on anxiety disorders and depression during and after pregnancy and in obese and overweight women.