Low levels of GABA (Gamma Amino-Butyric Acid), a neurotransmitter that is responsible for suppressing the central nervous system is one ‘internal’ cause of anxiety. Alcohol, caffeine and drug abuse are the biggest ‘external’ contributors to such disorders. Benzodiapenes are specifically known to be responsible for causing or aggravating panic attacks. Ironically, alcohol might be taken by the victim to relive minor stress, which ends up prolonging and worsening the existing condition. Other chemical causes include stimulant drugs and possibly prolonged exposure to organic solvents, varnishes and paints.
The term ‘anxiety disorder’ covers several different forms of mental disorders, all of which have the following in common: they all involve some form of irrational fear or anxiety. In this regard they can be differentiated from other forms of mental disorders such as psychosis. Perhaps the most well known form of anxiety disorders is phobias. A phobia is an unreasonable and extreme fear of a specific stimulus. Examples include fear of heights, confined spaces, blood, spiders etc. Exposure to stimuli provokes an exaggerated anxiety response, and the patient either avoids the situation or endures it with great difficulty.
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