10 Powerful Ways to Overcome Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

Overcome Anxiety

The word ‘anxiety’ must not be new to you. You must have heard of anxiety and might have experienced it whenever you started a new phase in life. However, this type of anxiety is not the same as the one that affects 40 million adults in the US every year. Keep reading to learn more about how to overcome anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

So, what kind of anxiety are we talking about? Everyone experiences anxiety at some stage in life, as it is the human body’s natural response to stress.

However, if this feeling intensifies and gets in the way of your routine, you may suffer from Anxiety Disorder. A condition that makes you dread day-to-day situations and prolongs for at least six months is anxiety.

It usually comes with depression. The two are considered as two sides of the same disorder. And just like depression, it hits females twice as it affects males.

Usually, anxiety emerges during one’s childhood. As for the question of genetic disposition, evidence shows that biology and environment play a role in this disorder. However, having the condition in genes does not necessitate its development in a person.

How Many People Have Anxiety Disorders?

As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of anxiety emerge first during childhood. However, this may not always be the case. Usually, people develop phobias or social anxiety disorders in childhood, while young adults are more likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder.

The World Health Organization states that around 3.6 percent of people across the globe suffer from anxiety disorder. A review of 48 Brain and Behavior Journal studies concluded that women were more anxiety sufferers than men.

Moreover, it was more prevalent in people under 35 and those living in Western Europe or North America. The review also noted that individuals having chronic health conditions had more chances of developing anxiety.

Overcome Anxiety

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety involves psychological and behavioral symptoms, and physical conditions are bound to come. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Intensified muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Jelly Legs
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Hyperventilation
  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet
  • Tension headaches
  • Having to use the toilet frequently
  • Hot flushes
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased perspiration
  • Shaking
  • Suffocation
  • Palpitations

Whereas the common psychological symptoms of anxiety include:

Having thoughts that you may die, go mad or lose control, or have a brain tumor, a heart attack, or you may be sick

Feeling that

  • People are observing you and noticing your anxiety
  • Things are slowing down or speeding up
  • Detached from your surroundings
  • Wanting to escape the situation/ run away from it
  • Alert and on edge

As for the behavioral symptoms, the major one is avoidance. You must know that avoiding a situation that makes you anxious may give you immediate relief, but it is temporary. Anxiety will return the next time you face the same problem, and avoidance will only reinforce that there is a danger.

Avoidance is not a solution because you will never know if there is a real danger or if what you thought would happen is the reality.

Moreover, people with prolonged anxiety undergo several symptoms:

  • Inability to relax
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness
  • Unreal expectations of the worst outcomes in different situations
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Trembling
  • Twitching
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Having to use the toilet frequently

Causes of Anxiety

Researchers are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of anxiety. However, biology and environment are known to be a reason, along with brain chemistry. Also, researchers opine that specific brain areas that control fear behave unconventionally in people with anxiety disorders.

The main reasons attributed to anxiety are traumatic childhood, brain chemistry, and genetic dispositions.

Some trauma in childhood impacts fear-controlling brain areas negatively. Unpleasant life events in early life make the said brain areas oversensitive and cause them to send out alarms more frequently. People having such brain chemistry perceive threats in situations where there are not supposed to be any. Their emotional memories overshadow their perception of reality.

Another thing that needs to be mentioned here is that changes in the brain structure, especially the areas that regulate anxiety and stress, can contribute to anxiety disorder.

As for the genetic component of anxiety, evidence suggests it plays a role in determining whether a person is anxious.


What are the Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders?

The five major types of anxiety disorders include:

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This anxiety disorder involves chronic anxiety, excessive tension, and worrying in situations with little or nothing to worry about.

2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is also an anxiety disorder and mostly does not need an introduction, for many protagonists in novels, TV serials, and movies have OCD. However, it may not be as straightforward or cute as the TV serials have shown. It involves persistent, undesired thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions).

Example of repetitive behaviors is checking, cleaning, hand washing, or counting. These behaviors are repeated in the hope of making the obsessive thoughts go away. However, these compulsions only provide a temporary belief and result in a feeling that one is not doing them enough, which increases anxiety further.

3. Panic Disorder

This anxiety disorder manifests unprecedented and repeated spells of intense fear and physical symptoms like heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, or abdominal distress.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is the anxiety disorder that erupts after the person has experienced or faced a terrifying event that involved severe physical harm or a threat of such damage. Traumatic events that may cause PTSD include natural or man-related disasters, violent personal assaults, accidents, or military combat. PTSD made news after the US soldiers returned from the Vietnam War and still is common among soldiers returning from war-torn Afghanistan.

5. Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is characterized by excessive self-consciousness and overwhelming anxiety in everyday social situations. It varies from person to person. Some people may experience it in only specific conditions, like fear of speaking in informal or formal situations or even drinking or eating in front of others. However, it can be extreme in some people who experience the symptoms whenever they come across other people.


Treatment for anxiety disorders involves both therapy and medication. The primary remedy, which is not as simple as it seems, is talking about what you feel and think. It is not easy to discuss this stuff; however, experts deem it the best treatment.

The conventional treatments for anxiety disorder are:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy (talking about your situation with a mental health professional)
  • Exercise
  • Natural remedies and complementary therapies

Drugs Prescribed for Anxiety Disorders

Several medications can be prescribed for anxiety disorders. These medications are prescribed along with therapy. Some people may be prescribed a combination of medicines.

Nevertheless, the standard medications for treating anxiety disorders include anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs (also called anxiolytics).

You should know that drugs are handy compared to therapy, but they may not help you with anxiety without treatment.

What Kind of Therapy is Best for Overcome Anxiety?

The most effective form of psychotherapy to treat anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy centers on changing the person’s approach and behavior patterns through talking sessions with a trained mental health professional.

Many studies have proved the efficiency of CBT. The main reason behind the effectiveness of CBT is that it allows the person to participate in their treatment. In CBT, the person works with the therapist to formulate positive techniques to help with their anxiety symptoms.

In this way, you will get to know about the triggers of your anxiety. Once identified, these factors become easier to manage.

CBT also teaches anxious individuals how to change harmful thought patterns. The change in thinking patterns reduces the frequency of anxiety in the long run. In case you deem a particular situation to be unwelcoming or undesirable, a change in your approach to that situation will change your response to the occurrence of that situation.

However, this change of approach does not come easy neither is CBT a quick fix. You may have to undergo three to four months to see the benefits of this therapy. But it would be best to remember that the benefits linger on for much longer.

According to the experts, one of the strengths of CBT is that the improvement resulting from the therapy is durable and long-lasting. By the time the treatment is completed, the person has learned the techniques that can help them for the rest of their life because the therapy addresses the cause of the anxiety, i.e., thinking patterns and beliefs.

It must be mentioned here that the treatment depends upon the type of disorder and the anxiety symptoms.

Only experts know which treatment will be effective for a person. An expert may recommend different treatment types or a combination of medicines before concluding which is best for you.

Does Exercise Reduce Anxiety?

As mentioned earlier, exercise also helps with anxiety. In extreme cases, you may need medication or therapy, but a few studies suggest that exercise can be as effective as medication or CBT. Moreover, it works better than a placebo.

However, the problem with exercise is that those suffering from an anxiety disorder would not want to include exercise in their routine. And it is hard to make an anxious person act if they do not desire it.

In fact, according to a few experts, even a 10-minute walk will be challenging for people struggling with extreme anxiety because they have lower motivation. In such cases, medication can help give reason to the patients.

Sometimes, people who have panic disorder experience their condition worsened by exercise. That happens when the person fears that exertion will lead to a panic attack. Nevertheless, such cases are rare and do not occur with the majority.

Natural Remedies for Overcome Anxiety

Some natural remedies have proven to be quite effective when dealing with overcoming anxiety.

  • Yoga: Evidence suggests that yoga can reduce anxiety. It combines breathing exercises, meditation, and physical postures.
  • Kava is a dietary supplement obtained by crushing the root of a Polynesian shrub. Some studies suggest that kava can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. However, please consult your doctor before consuming kava, as the authorities have warned that it can cause liver damage in some people.
  • Acupuncture involves inserting skinny needles into the body at specific points. Originating from China, acupuncture has been linked with relieving anxiety symptoms. It can be beneficial when combined with other treatments like CBT.
  • Lavender: Aromatherapy with lavender oil has a calming or soothing effect. However, little scientific evidence supports the link between lavender and anxiety disorder treatment.
  • Valerian is a medicinal herb with an anecdotal link to treating anxiety and depression. For centuries, many people have used it and recommended it for depression. But there is no scientific backing to such anecdotes.


Anxiety is becoming a pressing health concern in the present times. It impacts a person’s life profoundly, as it disrupts the day-to-day routine of the sufferer. Researchers cannot yet identify the exact reason for anxiety. However, there are many treatments for anxiety disorders. Despite the availability of therapy, stress tends to come back in any phase of life. Therefore, you should keep implementing the techniques you learned in the therapy sessions. Also, you should contact the doctor if you start experiencing the symptoms again. Moreover, if someone is struggling with anxiety around you, try to be empathetic and understanding about their situation.

Also, check out these 13 Tools to Help You Move Through Anxiety.

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