Mental health disorders are prevalent amongst people and affect individuals in different ways. Mental illness can be defined as a condition that interferes with behavior, mood, or thinking capacity. These psychological disorders have different biology, etiology, symptoms, and treatment measures. The conditions’ biology has multiple and linked causes such as influence by genetics, environment, and lifestyle. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults has a mental illness (Phillips, 2020). Several types of mental illness include anxiety, personality, eating, psychotic, substance abuse, trauma-related, and mood disorders. Anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders in the USA.
Anxiety disorder is a type of mental health condition that affects the human body’s natural response to some situations and things. NAMI says almost 40 million grownups (19.1%) in the USA live with the condition (Phillips, 2020). An individual can experience anxiety signs and symptoms such as nervousness, fear, panic, excessive sweating, and increased heartbeat. Research shows that anxiety is genetic, with no specifications on the type of gene known to contain it (Yirmiya, 2018). Feeling anxious and nervous is expected in certain situations, such as tackling a problem, taking an interview, having an exam, or deciding on a sensitive matter. The condition can be treated using cognitive behavioral therapy and medicine. This type of mental illness is common, and since its treatable, one should seek medical attention.
Biology of Anxiety Disorder
The biology of the condition is not well-known, but experts have tried to explain it using human hormones and body systems. The brain is presumed to control the starting and maintaining of the disorder. For one to be anxious, biological factors have to be in place. Some personality characteristics, known as neuroticism, imply emotional instability. There are many types of anxiety disorders; generalized anxiety, panic, phobia, social, agoraphobia, and separation anxiety disorders. Of the ten inter-related human systems, six are involved in producing anxiety and fear (Yirmiya, 2018). The nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, excretory, and respiratory systems are all involved. The six systems cause changes in electrical, chemical, and physiological elements, manifesting anxiety symptoms.
Genetics brings out biological differences between individuals, and the biological make-up accounts for human similarities. A person’s response to fear is one of the known human similarities, refers to as fight-or-flight, and it is an adaptive response that protects people from dangerous situations. Research done in 2015 for mental health conditions in twins showed that the RBFOX1 gene could carry the generalized anxiety disorder (Asher et al., 2017). A review of the study in 2016 displayed that anxiety, generalized, and panic disorders are linked to given genes, with Asher et al. (2017) concluding that it is possible to inherit generalized anxiety. The hereditary nature of the illness makes it very common among people having the same genes.
Researchers are not sure what the causes of anxiety disorder are. The condition is caused by both environmental and genetic factors (Phillips, K. 2020). Various reasons cause the different types of anxiety disorders since each has a risk factor of its own. Generally, one can develop the illness from a physical condition linked to being anxious, experiencing life scenarios associated with trauma, and inheritance from family members. The causes are still under research, with experts focusing mainly on the two factors.
There are different types of anxiety disorders depending on the symptoms exhibited. Some mental health conditions cannot be literally defined as anxiety disorders but have anxiety as one of their symptoms. Such illnesses include; obsessive-compulsive disorder, adjustment, acute stress, and post-traumatic stress disorders (Yirmiya, 2018)). Generalized anxiety comprises excessive and persistent worrying, which affects an individual’s daily living, with 2% of the total USA population experiencing it (Phillips, 2020). A person can experience headaches, restlessness, sleeplessness, nausea, fatigue, and muscle tension as signs of the disorder. Different types of mental illness are common and have various symptoms, although some are shared.
Phobia is experienced when one has excess fear for a given situation. These individuals usually try to avoid circumstances and things that make us feel uncomfortable. According to NAMI, about 2% of the American population experiences phobia every year (Phillips, 2020). The affected cannot experience any symptoms until they interact with the sources that cause the phobia. The symptoms exhibited are dizziness, increased heartbeats, shortness of breath, stomach upset, trembling, nausea, and sweating (Yirmiya, 2018). Agoraphobia is the fear of empty and open places, but it is more complicated than that. Phobias can be overcome by not coming in contact with the sources towards which one is phobic. This anxiety makes one avoid being alone, in crowded areas, or using public means of transport.
Social anxiety is when people have a lot of fear of what others will think about them in social interactions and shyness. Annually, around 7% of the USA population is affected by the disorder (Phillips, 2020). People with this condition cannot participate actively in discussions and conversations and can easily be forgotten or isolated. They experience panic attacks when forced to participate in social interactions or to anticipate giving a contribution. This condition is commonly experienced during class presentations and interviews. This anxiety is common among young people and is overcome as one grows up and has a more active social life.
Panic anxiety disorder refers to sudden surges of fearing a lot and becoming uncomfortable and getting to a peak within no time. One may have panic attacks when they have experiences of feeling abrupt and overwhelming terror for no apparent reason. The condition is estimated to affect 2% to 3% of the USA population yearly (Phillips, 2020). This anxiety can make one have physical symptoms like experiencing difficulties in breathing, sweating, and a pounding heart. Separation anxiety disorder, often in children, is the fear of being parted from people with whom they have connections and attachments.
There are many symptoms of the condition, with having excessive fear being the major. These symptoms can be classified into physical and psychological. As discussed above, every type of anxiety disorder has its specific signs, but there are general ones. The common ones are; shortness of breath, panic, fear, having sleeping problems, nausea, and dizziness. Other people may experience dry mouth, inability to concentrate, tense muscles, trembling, and nervousness.
Anxiety is treatable using medicine, psychotherapy, or both of ty are them. Psychotherapy can be used to treat people having anxiety disorders effectively. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an example of talk therapy for helping people with the condition. It makes people with the disorder practice different ways of behaving, thinking, and reacting to situations that make them anxious. Assigning homework to the affected is advised to ensure the process is continuous. Using medicines does not cure the disorder, but they relieve the symptoms that one experiences. Psychiatrists prescribe medication, such as anti-anxiety drugs, beta-blockers, and antidepressants. With the condition being treatable, one should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
In conclusion, anxiety is one of the common psychological disorders in the USA. The symptoms are exhibited very early, and this makes the condition quickly noted. The biology of the illness is known, with recent research showing that it is genetic. With the causes being psychological and environmental, one can avoid them, especially the environmental ones as a way of prevention. People having the disorder should consider getting medical attention since it is treatable.
Asher, M., Asnaani, A., & Aderka, I. M. (2017). Gender differences in social anxiety disorder: A review. Clinical psychology review, 56, 1-12. Web.
Phillips, K. (2020). Mental illness is not anyone’s fault: A review of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, 24(1), 75-81. Web.
Yirmiya, K., Djalovski, A., Motsan, S., Zagoory-Sharon, O., & Feldman, R. (2018). Stress and immune biomarkers interact with parenting behavior to shape anxiety symptoms in trauma-exposed youth. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 98, 153-160. Web.