Did you know that one of the most common illnesses in the U.S. is anxiety disorders? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the illness affects 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 years and older. Every year, 18.1% of the U.S population suffers from anxiety disorder.
Of those 40 million people, almost 7 million of them suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), 15 million people suffer from social anxiety disorder, 14.8 million suffer from a major depressive disorder, and 7.7 million suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder.
Of all the types of anxiety disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder seems to be the most common one amongst the US population. Almost 5% of the population at some point in their lives is affected by this illness, especially women. The ADAA claims that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders as men are. In women, symptoms of anxiety disorder typically occur at a younger age (between puberty and age 50) as compared to men.
Although it is possible to treat anxiety disorders yet only 36.9% of the people suffering from it seek treatment. Anxiety disorders develop from a number of risk factors including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events (death, divorce, loss, failure etc).
Research shows that many people are still psychologically affected by the Great Recession that started off late around 2007. The arduous time caused a lot of emotional upheaval among the individuals. Unfortunately, they were unable to get the treatment they needed. As a result, thousands of Americans live with serious mental conditions which include hopelessness, extreme nervousness, depression, and anxiety. The recession pushed the mentally ill to a point where they were unable to fully recover.
It is normal to feel nervous at times, especially when you face any form of challenge or adversity. For example, it is quite common to have anxiety before giving an exam or before making an important decision. This kind of nervousness doesn’t hinder your ability to perform.
However, anxiety disorders are different altogether. They are a group of mental illnesses which cause an uncontrollable form of distress, keeping you from carrying on with your life normally. Generally, when you suffer from anxiety, you are more concerned about future events. This causes a host of changes in your behavior too.
In the case of anxiety disorders, people are entirely unable to function properly due to excessive fear or tension. They try to avoid situations that worsen their symptoms to a considerable extent. All of this negatively affects their both personal and professional life. Worse than that, anxiety disorders take a toll on their physical health as well. The condition puts an unnecessary amount of stress on your body.
To comprehend if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, you must know that anxiety disorders rarely occur alone. They frequently occur along with depression or substance abuse. People with anxiety often turn to alcohol or drugs to soothe their agitated nerves. With excessive anxiety, it is also natural for people to become depressed since they are emotionally low.
According to the ADAA, half of those diagnosed with anxiety disorders are also diagnosed with depression. Often at times, people with anxiety disorders also suffer from eating disorders or attention-deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD).
People who suffer from anxiety disorders are at a greater risk of developing several other serious health conditions like extreme headaches, chronic physical pain, upset stomach, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sleep disorders, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), and fibromyalgia.
Although an anxiety disorder is a mental illness, it affects your physical health as well. Why? Several doctors believe in a mind-body connection – a relationship between your physical state and your emotional health. It’s understandable to believe that if your mind is in a continual state of agony, your body will be susceptible to ailments. This is the reason why sufferers of anxiety disorders may suffer from a heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and respiratory diseases in the future.
Many researchers and medical professionals believe that the reason why many people suffer from anxiety is because they have a family history of anxiety and they inherit it from them. It may be possible that your parents have self-esteem issues, they feel overwhelmed all the time, become frustrated easily, and have a tough time relaxing their minds.
All these symptoms may point out towards one condition – anxiety disorder. Since it is likely for you to inherit the same genes as your parents, it is possible for you to suffer anxiety disorders as your parents.
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
One of the most common types of anxiety, GAD involves excessive worry that hinders you from carrying out your daily activities. Even small activities that cause no problem otherwise, creates a lot of trouble among those suffering from GAD. Some of those things involve activities like household chores or getting late for work.
This continual tension and worry may give rise to other physical symptoms such as agitation, restlessness, fatigue, muscle pain, sleeping disorder, and a short concentration span. Often at times, people with GAD have related disorders such as depression, social phobia, substance abuse, headaches, and bowel problems.
2. Panic Disorder
A person with a panic disorder suffers from intense panic attacks, having uncontrollable feelings of anxiety. This is often combined with a wide range of physical symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, trembling, sweating, nausea, chills, numbness, excessive palpitation, fear of losing control, and feeling of choking and detached.
Also, people suffering from worse forms of panic attacks often feel like they are about to have a heart attack. This is because the intensity of the panic attack is too strong for an average person to tolerate. If a person experiences episodes of these panic attacks constantly for a month, they may be diagnosed with panic disorder.
Typically, a panic disorder occurs among people who are 22 or 23 years old. Panic attacks often occur with other kinds of mental disorders like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
3. Social Phobia
Also, known as the social anxiety disorder, social phobia induces intense social anxiety among people who have to interact with others.
People with social phobia may feel tensed among a large group of people, possessing the fear of being judged, criticized, mocked, and humiliated in front of others. They may have this anxiety even during the most common everyday situations such as eating with others at a restaurant, conversing with people at work etc.
There are two scenarios where social phobia may occur in. The fist is “performance situations” such as giving a presentation in front of your colleagues. The second scenario involves social interaction such as having a meal in a large group.
Some symptoms of social phobia are excessive perspiration, shaking, nausea, blushing, or stammering while speaking.
Various research studies conclude that melatonin may help cure symptoms that cause depression, such as seasonal affective disorder – it is the type of depression that’s associated with the changes in seasons. The symptoms are likely to begin in the fall and last till winter months, resulting in low energy among the sufferers.
One study indicated that when the participants consumed melatonin supplements in the afternoon, there was a significant decrease in their levels of depression. There was an improvement in the mood of participants as compared to another group with SAD who took a placebo.
In the case of patients with the treatment-resistant depression, a study showed that when they consumed five mg of SR-melatonin per day for two weeks along with 10 mg per day for an additional two weeks, many of their depression symptoms were ultimately cured. Moreover, they didn’t suffer from insomnia as much as they used to before.
People who suffer from mild depression and anxiety have a lower amount of nocturnal melatonin. This is the reason doctors recommend them the intake of melatonin supplements so that melatonin elevates to its normal amount in their body.
However, people who take beta-receptor blockers – drugs used to cure arrhythmia or hypertension, these medications inhibit melatonin secretion, resulting in neuropsychiatric problems such as, depression, insomnia, and lethargy.
Melatonin effectively cures symptoms of anxiety and depression by regulating serotonin levels in your brain. However, melatonin supplements exhibit certain side-effects as well.
People consuming melatonin for depression and anxiety report to suffer from side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, recurring headache, feelings of fatigue, personality changes, weight gain, and sleep disturbance. However, these side-effects soon disappeared after taking melatonin for about a week.
It’s not necessary for you to suffer from all of these after-effects. It is likely for you to suffer from only primary side-effects such as lethargy, decreased alertness, light-headedness, and headache. If you notice any of these symptoms occurring, there is no need to panic.
Many people stop consuming the supplements out of fear. However, doctors advise to continue the use of melatonin supplements and wait for your body to get used to the medication. Within the span of one week or two, all the side-effects will go away.
Although it is safe to use melatonin for depression and anxiety, it is better to talk to your physician before incorporating the supplement into your daily diet, especially if you are pregnant. The supplements can affect both you and your baby.
Discussing their intake with your doctor beforehand will ensure you of any potential complication. In pregnancy, there is no standard melatonin dosage. A higher dose may interfere with ovulation and conception. It is also not clear how much quantity would be considered safe to consume melatonin supplements. Thus, it is better to consult your doctor first. He will be able to better guide you if the consumption of melatonin is entirely safe for you or not.
If you are taking melatonin for diabetes, psychiatric illness, seizures, or high or low blood pressure, you must talk to your physician first. It is likely for melatonin not to be as effective for these conditions as it is for depression and anxiety.
Several people use melatonin supplements regularly for depression and anxiety. Let’s look at some of the positive reviews of melatonin supplements.
“I have been taking Melatonin supplements for my anxiety disorder for quite some time now. I must say, I have seen a vast improvement in myself. I used to get nervous all the time which had caused me a lot of trouble at work. I couldn’t properly concentrate on anything and was also unable to sleep at night. Thank God, all of these problems have absolutely disappeared now. I highly recommend Melatonin supplements to all those people who’re suffering from anxiety disorders!”
“I used to have the worst kind of social anxiety. Due to this problem, I was always shy of talking to people and never made many friends. My parents were very worried about me. So, they consulted a physician who prescribed Melatonin pills. I have been taking these pills for over six months now and I have changed a lot! I don’t feel as socially awkward and nervous as I used to feel before in front of people.”
“It was hard for me to sleep at night due to my anxiety issues. I used to stay awake late into the night, worrying about everything that was going on in my life. Because of this, I would wake up tired the next morning with severe headaches. I got fired by my boss because of my poor job performance. I was so worried until a friend of mine suggested me melatonin supplements. These supplements are magical, to say the least!”
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