Anxiety is a normal feeling. It is present in all human beings. Depending on the circumstances, it may take different forms, from simple anxiety to anxiety and even terror. Sometimes it manifests abnormally and becomes a disease in its own right. Phobias, Panic, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders: Learn to recognize the different forms of pathological anxiety.

Anxiety has a useful role in our lives: it is because we worry about the safety of our children that we carefully monitor them, it is because we think of our own safety that we avoid taking undue risks , It is because we are afraid that we flee when necessary in the face of dangers that we can not face: a fire, an armed malefactor for example.

This anxiety occurs as a result of clearly identifiable events, helps us to cope with them and disappears at the same time as its cause.

But it happens in some people that anxiety manifests itself abnormally: either because it occurs unnecessarily, or because its intensity and the responses that it causes are not commensurate with the triggering event. This is called pathological anxiety.

This pathological anxiety can assume multiple aspects from which it is customary to distinguish schematically five main main tables

These tables are fairly frequent since it is estimated that 3 to 5% of the population presented one of them at some point in their lives.

Multiple causes

The causes of pathological anxiety are poorly understood. It is clear that some people are more prone to anxiety than the average. It is also known that social factors play an important role: hyper-anxious parents tend to convey their own concerns to their children. Families where children are neglected or even abused are obviously providers of anxiety disorders. Psychological trauma from childhood or adulthood is often a triggering event. Some diseases are accompanied regularly by anxiety: hypoglycaemia, hyperthyroidism, certain heart failure, certain deficiencies in vitamins. The weaning periods (alcohol, tobacco ...) have the same effect.

Finally, women are about twice as numerous as men to make episodes of pathological anxiety, without knowing why.

Phobias, TOC, panic attacks ...

We distinguish several types of pathological anxiety, whose manifestations vary.

It manifests itself in a state of tension, permanent anxiety without any external event that explains it. The people who suffer from it are worried about everything at all times. They can not relax, they often struggle to fall asleep, are irritable, impatient, have difficulty concentrating.

These sensations are often accompanied by physical problems: excessive sweating, stomach pain, diarrhea, frequent urination, cold hands, dry mouth, dizziness, headaches ... This pathology is handicapped because it causes permanent difficulties in the Daily life, both at work where it makes relationships difficult and in private life that is gradually restricted. It is estimated that about 3% of the population is confronted with this disorder.

In this case anxiety is no longer permanent and general, but it is crystallized on particular situations that make it occur. The subject does not feel any particular anxiety in his daily life, but anxiety arises as soon as he is confronted with the situation that triggers the phobia. The advantage is that anxiety is easily avoided: it is enough to avoid the situation that creates it. The disadvantage is that many phobias correspond to situations that are often encountered throughout their life and can become very disabling. The fear of snakes in our modern world is not very serious and does not spoil the lives of those who experience it. But other phobias are much more tricky to handle. The most frequent are: agoraphobia, fear of public places and crowds, claustrophobia: fear of closed areas, elevators, planes, closed rooms, zoophobia: fear of certain animals, mice, dogs, cats in particular.

There are two major types of phobias: on the one hand, social phobias, fear of situations in which one is confronted with relationships with others (fear of speaking in public, exaggerated fear of superiors, abnormal shyness in personal relationships ...) And on the other hand the phobias of objects or situations which do not involve social relations (claustrophobia, fear of animals ...)

In this case anxiety is not the most obvious sign, it is underlying. Obsession leads the subject who is the victim to constantly feel identical thoughts, to feel the need to constantly repeat the same gestures as a kind of ritual. Some people wash their hands tens of times during the day, others are obliged to always follow an identical and complicated itinerary to go from one place to another, others can not perform any action without doing it Precede complicated and incomprehensible rituals for the entourage. We understand how this pathology can hinder everyday life. It is generally accompanied by particular traits of character: obsession with order, avarice, excessive cleanliness by fear of germs ...

This disorder, which often begins in childhood or adolescence, affects about 2% of the population.

His description is fairly easy to understand because almost everyone felt a panic crisis in front of a terrifying event. But here these crises are renewed frequently and without triggering cause. Gradually the picture grows worse because the person who is subject to this disorder will be obsessed by the fear of seeing the crisis return, since it can occur at any time. All the psychic and physical signs of anxiety are then present in an exacerbated form, causing a major uneasiness, an unbearable feeling of oppression which sometimes gives the impression that one is going to die or go mad.

It follows a particularly agonizing event that led to a major psychological trauma: catastrophe, aggression, loss of a loved one ... At the moment the subject reacts with an acute stress picture: strong anguish, despair or on the contrary impossibility of any Reaction.

Eventually, the memory of the event will haunt the one who has lived it. This memory will manifest itself in the form of nightmares sometimes daily, which can lead to severe insomnia for fear of falling asleep. Images can also occur unexpectedly during the day, preventing concentration on what has to be done, causing irritability, escaping social contact, hyperexcitability at the slightest stimulus, loss of self-confidence, avoidance of situations or people who recall The traumatic event.

This syndrome is often found in soldiers during wars, but also in children who are victims of violence or sexual abuse.

Treatments sometimes very long

The detailed treatments of each form of pathological anxiety vary. They are based on a part of the nature of the disorder (phobia, obsession, panic ...), on the other hand the personality of the subject who suffers from it. Psychotherapies (behavioral, analytical, etc.) play an important role here. In some cases it is associated with drug treatments (anxiolytics, antidepressants).

A large part of the pathological anxieties are curable, others are susceptible of considerable improvements which generally allow the patients to resume a quasi-normal daily life. But the duration of the treatment is extremely variable, from a few weeks to several years.

Generalized Anxiety Phobias Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Panic Attack Post-Traumatic Stress