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These Habits and Behaviors Are Linked to Anxiety-Related Disorders

We all have an experience or two (or many more) with the nasty thing that is anxiety. When you find yourself all jittery and restless and your muscles all stiffen, your heart rate quickens and an odd feeling washes over you — it’s not fun, but it is normal. Can you imagine what sort of trouble you would land yourself in if you didn’t have the natural response of anxiety to warn you of things like dark alleys or suspicious people?

And maybe you wouldn’t put such an effort in your work if you weren’t anxious about meeting the deadline, or perhaps you wouldn’t have written such a great speech if you weren’t anxious about the audiences’ response! Anxiety is a good thing in some ways, but there are times when it poses an obstacle, too.

When Anxiety Becomes An Enemy

It’s when anxiety comes to affect our daily life and disables us from functioning normally in daily activities that it becomes a serious problem. Sometimes anxiety gets ahead of people and it can seriously have negative effects on a person’s health, work, and even relationships. Being in a state of continuous worry is a sort of plague. Anxiety-related responses can crop up in some unusual ways that you may not even really identify as anything to do with your emotions. Here we take a look at three psychological disorders where continuous anxiety could be stemming from.

Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is when a person experiences consistent failure to speak in particular situations while being completely able to in every other situation. A perfect example is the character Raj in the popular show The Big Bang Theory, as he has no problem communicating in every situation except when he has to speak to women. This is a disorder commonly presented in childhood — it is rather rare in adults but it does occur. This is commonly treated using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to change a person’s thought patterns and behaviors.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

While you may have danced to his hit songs and read the controversial stories around him, you may now have known that the King of Pop himself showed many symptoms of a disorder called body dysmorphic disorder. Michael Jackson was very preoccupied with his appearance and invested a lot of time, effort, and money into changing his appearance. There are many others in the world with the same behavior, and it can interfere with social life, confidence, and self-esteem. Seven to fifteen percent of those who undergo cosmetic procedures happen to be BDD sufferers. Surgery is not a solution to the problem, and people don’t often realize they are struggling with a disorder. Medications and psychotherapy help to break this vicious cycle and to identify and remedy the root causes of the anxiety in BDD.

Trichotillomania

This may be a tough word to pronounce, but it’s also a tough disorder to recognize. This is a type of disorder characterized by the overwhelming compulsion to pull out hair from different parts of the body, like the eyelashes, eyebrows, and scalp. Pulling usually follows a bout of tension that builds up, and this tension builds when the person avoids pulling as well. Pulling usually brings immense relief and a sense of pleasure. Of course, over time this will lead to noticeable hair loss, and perhaps embarrassing situations and can interfere with normal life. One to three percent of the general population suffers from this, including celebrities like Colin Farrell, Olivia Munn, and Justin Timberlake! It is viewed as a stress-coping mechanism and to stem from feelings of loneliness, stress or frustration. Habit reversal therapy is used, often with medication, to treat this condition. Self-monitoring and emotion awareness, as well as stimulus control, are other techniques used to help break the cycle of hair-pulling and to put an end to the habit.

These disorders are rare but can be immensely disruptive if you do suffer from them. If you do identify an underlying issue that you may be battling, it is best to seek professional help to address the sources that are fuelling your disorder. These little known anxiety disorders are treatable and finding the treatment as soon as possible will help you live a more rewarding, fulfilling and enjoyable life. Reclaim your life, and fight your demons, one step at a time!

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