Being anxious is one of the natural emotions of an individual. Who isn’t anxious about a particular test result, about an office presentation or their own wedding? It is when this anxiety gets out of control and begins to interfere with one’s daily routine that the matter should be looked into more closely.
The cause of anxiety is usually based on a variety of factors. Usually, people feel that several things are attacking them all at once and they can’t take it anymore. The typical situation is of a high school teacher, who has to deal with a demanding schedule and unruly teenagers at work, then he comes home to a complaining wife and crying kids, and at the back of his mind, he constantly worries about due bills and mortgage payments.
Probing into the Patients Recent and Remote Past
In all cases, it is the patient himself who is the biggest help to diagnose the actual cause of anxiety. Psychiatrists often ask the patient to keep a detailed journal about his symptoms and the events leading to them. The patient is asked to jot down his thoughts before the start of the anxiety and where he was when this happened. Often, the cause of anxiety attacks can be determined by reviewing these log books and noting the most common trigger to anxiety.
A detailed history of the patient’s childhood and adolescence can also help figure out the cause of anxiety. Traumatic events in one’s childhood can scar the person for life. Death of a loved one in a hospital can make an individual fear doctors and hospitals forever. Or maybe, a dog bite in the person’s childhood will lead to a life long phobia of dogs.
The patient is usually unaware of these feelings, until they are brought out by probing into his past
Determining the cause of anxiety is the most important aspect of combating anxiety. The problem can be tackled step by step after the root of the problem is discovered. Gradual desensitization can be used to help the patient overcome his fears over time.
For instance, if the patient is scared of drowning in water, the doctor will help him by exposing him to different levels of water, beginning from the bath tub and ending at the beach. This usually helps overcome the fear completely, but requires a lot of time and patience.
Once the cause of anxiety is figured out, the battle is half won and the management can now continue by focusing on the actual problem.