Youth Ambassador Series: Exploring Different Mental Health Disorders – Anxiety Disorder

As part of NAMI Eastside’s Youth Ambassador program, Jinwoo “Antonio” Lee is exploring the eight different mental health disorders defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).


About Anxiety Disorder

By NAMI Eastside Youth Ambassador Jinwoo Antonio Lee

People from diverse individual, family, and cultural backgrounds can suffer from mental illness. Mental illness can start anytime in life, from childhood to older adulthood. Many factors, such as poverty, can impact one’s likelihood of developing a mental illness. World Health Organization (WHO) conveys eight types of mental disorders: anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, dissocial disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Today, I would like to introduce anxiety disorder.

What distinguishes anxiety disorder from anxiousness? Every person has some anxious moments in their life. It could be anxiety for a big test, an emergency situation, or small parts of our lives. However, anxiety disorder is defined differently. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the definition of anxiety order is “persistent and excessive worry that interferes with daily activities,” which implies that someone who has anxiety disorder does not have occasional anxiety; instead, it remains for a long time. In addition, anxiety comes from anticipation of a future concern. It affects performance in our daily lives: school, work, or household.

What are the causes of anxiety disorder? There are no valid causes that arouse anxiety disorder. It can be either natural factors, such as biological factors, or nurture factors, such as past traumas. Moreover, some people have anxiety disorders with medical causes. Medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, or chronic pain can increase anxiety levels. Some observations state that children who undergo trauma have a higher risk of anxiety disorder. Stress is the primary cause of anxiety disorder. Stress that comes from work, school, relationships, etc., causes people to develop anxiety disorder.

What are the symptoms of anxiety order? Symptoms of anxiety disorder are psychological and physical. People who have this disorder feel nervous, have an increased heart rate, and have trouble concentrating things. However, this does not mean that every person who feels nervous has this disorder. Specifically, there are several types of anxiety disorder: agoraphobia, panic disorder, selective mutism, and social phobia. People who have agoraphobia tend not to leave places that they consider safe. Some people only consider home to be a safe environment, which is a severe disease. Second, panic disorder is when people have frequent panic attacks. Selective mutism occurs when people are unable to speak in some situations. It happens usually in childhood. Lastly, people with a social phobia have a hard time with social/performance situations. They often worry about others who might criticize them. 

How can we treat anxiety disorder? Living in a healthy routine is an effective way. Exercising daily, reducing caffeine, getting enough sleep, and communicating with others about your emotions are helpful strategies. You are the person who knows you. You know what makes you anxious. Try to avoid those situations, and if there are things that make you anxious, don’t panic: try to breathe regularly and ventilate your surroundings.

How can we promote recovery from anxiety disorder? There are several ways to manage this disorder. Sometimes medication is useful, but not always. If the disorder gets severe and you need someone to help, don’t hesitate! First, find some person in your closest boundary. Look around for someone to talk to. If necessary, you may find mental counselors in your city. (Note that 988 is the national hotline number for mental suicide). After you find help, some medications or therapies can be conducted. Dietary adjustments or physical management are engaged as well. Don’t forget that there are lots of people that can help you!