Chronic Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

8 mins read
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We all strive to be strong, to hide our vulnerability and tell ourselves that everything is fine. However, we often intensify our worry until it leads to chronic anxiety.

Chronic anxiety affects thousands of people worldwide. Excessive worry over a sustained period of time, sleep disturbances, constant pressure in the chest, fears and destructive thoughts. Life in this kind of mental universe is not easy. However, weeks and months or even years pass. Sometimes it is better and sometimes worse, but in general the wear and tear on people is incredible.

You may wonder how someone can live with this reality for so long. In reality, they get used to suffering. This is because these conditions usually occur during adolescence or early youth. Patients therefore ‘get used’ to this way of thinking, to a body and mind that overreact to problems and life’s daily complications.

“There is nothing I can do. I’m just made this way. I have an anxious personality” is the justification many people give. Yet, when they compare themselves with others, they realize that something is wrong. Because their thought patterns are hurting them, weakening them, and extinguishing their hopes and dreams every day.

Let’s learn a little more about this situation.

Chronic anxiety: definition, symptoms and treatment

It is not easy to move from an anxious mind to a calm mind. Those who suffer from chronic anxiety live for months and years in a psychological state where worry, fear and suffering are out of proportion. What makes it even more complicated is that they try to hide it and pretend to others that everything is fine.

In their eagerness to show high competence and normality, they consume enormous amounts of energy. In addition, their anxiety feeds back and becomes more chronic.

The psychological field recognizes the high complexity of these realities. In fact, research similar to that conducted by Dr. Alexander Bystrisky at the University of California claims that anxiety, while not as visually striking as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, is just as disabling. Moreover, some people suffer from chronic anxiety for years, which often leads to more serious conditions such as major depression. It is therefore important to intervene early and prevent such suffering from lasting over time.

Chronic Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments 1

Symptoms of chronic anxiety

Anxiety has many forms and faces and each individual experiences it in a particular way. The work of leading authors such as Aaron T. Beck, Albert Ellis, Paul Watzlawick and MH Erickson has explored this area and offered valuable strategies to understand and address these conditions a little better.

Chronic anxiety describes a psychological state that exceeds six months. It’s not just a time of worry or a temporary bad mood. Here are the most common symptoms:

  • Excessive worry.
  • Fears and a tendency to anticipate negative events.
  • Concentration problems.
  • Difficulties in solving problems. Because the mind always anticipates the worst and gets blocked.
  • Feelings of pain and guilt. The chronic anxiety sufferer does not understand why they feel this way and blames themselves for it.
  • Restlessness and agitation due to high adrenaline levels.
  • Phobias.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Tachycardia, pressure in the chest.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Hot flashes or chills.
  • Dizziness or tingling sensations.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Feeling on edge or under pressure.
  • Feeling a lump in the throat or difficulty swallowing.

What lies behind chronic anxiety?

Chronic anxiety is not a clinical condition. It describes a state of discomfort and suffering that exceeds six months. Therefore, in most cases, a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) lies behind these conditions. This psychological entity is more common than we think, so much so that some people have been suffering since adolescence.

Here are some triggers for chronic anxiety:

  • Personality-related factors. Having a tendency to feed negative thinking, not having strategies to manage worries, low self-esteem or insecurity.
  • Genetic factors. An individual is more likely to suffer from chronic anxiety if a biological relative also has it. However, a stable and peaceful family life can help offset any genetic risk.
  • Environmental factors. Trauma, stress or other negative environmental factors can increase the likelihood of an individual developing chronic anxiety. In fact, trauma-induced anxiety requires different therapeutic approaches than other types, so it is important to recognize whether a history of trauma is causing anxiety.
  • Social problems. Larger social problems, such as climate change, discrimination, political factors or a pandemic, can exacerbate chronic anxiety.

What kind of treatments are there?

There are treatments for chronic anxiety. Indeed, any mood disorder can be overcome through psychological therapy. In some cases, the strategy can be combined with psychotropic drugs. However, the most effective resource to treat the root of the problem and enable the patient to manage chronic anxiety is psychotherapy. Systematic desensitization techniques, such as Jacobson’s progressive relaxation techniques, are extremely useful therapeutic approaches.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as acceptance and commitment therapy can be very helpful. The most important thing is that the patient learns to develop more rational thoughts, which are more reflective and aimed at achieving more control and well-being in their daily life. Anxiety will not disappear from their lives, it will always be present, but if they know how to deal with it, it will cease to be a burden and an obstacle to their well-being.

Other strategies

Other strategies for dealing with chronic anxiety include

  • Working on stability. One of the most important aspects of dealing with chronic anxiety is to do everything possible to lead a stable life. While therapy and medication can be effective, nothing is as effective as the right environment and people, so change should be made whenever possible.
  • Accepting anxious thoughts. Irrational thoughts should be accepted and not seen as absolute truth.
  • Develop coping skills. An individual may need various coping skills for different levels of anxiety. For example, really high anxiety may respond to a different technique than moderate anxiety.
  • Practicing yoga or meditation. Adopting some form of meditation, yoga or mindfulness. There are many different types of mindfulness practices that have positive effects on anxiety.

Living with chronic anxiety is difficult. Those who suffer from it experience physical and emotional symptoms that prevent them from functioning normally in their daily lives. However, seeking treatment and developing coping skills can go a long way in reducing symptoms and better managing the condition. So, if you find yourself in this kind of situation, don’t hesitate to seek expert help if you need it. Remember that you can move from an anxious mind to a calm mind.




michael Stepansky

Conducts studies in the field of political sciences.
Creates their articles by scanning media

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