Ever wondered why you were trembling before your exam, or why your palms got sweaty before that job interview? These anxious feelings are a natural way for the body to prepare itself for an important event. You would have also noticed how you started to calm down once the event was under way; you started to breathe easier and your heart stopped thumping. Such an anxiety actually helps us perform better as it makes us more alert.
However, some people experience anxiety or anxiety attacks for no apparent reason. If you find it hard to control your worries and if these constant feelings of anxiety affect your ability to go about your daily activities, then it might be a case of an anxiety disorder.
Here is a quick checklist that you could use to see if your anxiety is a disorder:
|Regular anxiety||Anxiety disorder|
|Worrying about bills, job interviews, tests or other important events.||Worrying constantly and excessively for no apparent reason, making it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities.|
|The feeling of 'butterflies in your stomach' before a public performance or a big meeting.||Fearing any social or performance-related situations, in which you may be exposed to possible scrutiny by others. You fear that you will act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing.|
|Fear of a dangerous object, place or situation, for instance, a stray dog barking at you on the street.||Irrational fear of an object or place, such as fear of entering an elevator believing that an escape might be not possible.|
|Sadness or worry immediately after a traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one.||Repeated flashbacks, dreams and subsequent worry following exposure to an extremely traumatic event in the past.|
|Maintaining hygiene personally and in your surroundings.||Performing excessive and repetitive cleaning and rearranging things and objects around you.|
|Breaking into a sweat before a big match.||Repeated panic attacks along with nervous feelings like “I am going to die“ for no apparent reason, and the constant fear of having another attack.|
Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety, so it is difficult to say when it can be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. If your feelings of worry and dread have a disabling effect on you over a period of time, you should seek advice from a mental health professional. There are many types of anxiety disorders but their most common symptoms are:
If you have noticed these signs in a friend or family member, you should talk to them about their possible condition and advise them to meet a mental health professional.
The most common factors that cause anxiety disorders are:
Anxiety affects people in different ways leading to a variety of disorders. The most common forms of anxiety disorders are:
Anxiety disorders can be overcome but one must not underestimate the seriousness of the problem. If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, it is best you seek professional advice and treatment. Anxiety disorders are treated through anxiety medication, counseling or a combination of the two.
If you have a family member or a friend who is suffering from anxiety disorders, your support can go a long way in reducing their distress. As with any sort of illness, the first thing you should do is to learn about the sufferer’s problem so that you can empathize with their condition. Dealing with people suffering from anxiety disorders requires a lot of patience, but they also need to be pushed and encouraged from time to time to face their stressors or fears so that they may overcome these fears. It is essential that you find the right balance for this.
There are many skills which you can learn in order to manage your anxiety. Positive thinking, stress management, leading a healthy lifestyle and relaxation are some of the common techniques that people use. Trying to manage anxiety by yourself can be challenging, especially if you are experiencing a lot of discomfort and unease. It’s always a good idea to reach out for professional advice in such cases.