Anxiety

Anxiety

A mental health disorder characterised by feelings of worry, anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities.

Very common

More than 10 million cases per year (India)

  • Treatable by a medical professional
  • Usually self-diagnosable
  • Lab tests or imaging not required

Examples of anxiety disorders include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside a worry and restlessness.

Treatment includes counselling or medication, including antidepressants.

Ages Affected
6-13 Common
14-18 Very common
19-40 Very common
41-60 Very common
60+ Common
SYMPTOMS
Usually self-diagnosable

Symptoms include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside a worry and restlessness.

People may experience

Whole body: fatigue, restlessness, or sweating
Behavioural: hypervigilance or irritability
Cognitive: racing thoughts or unwanted thoughts
Also common: anxiety, excessive worry, fear, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, poor concentration, or trembling.

TREATMENTS
Treatment consists of therapy

Treatment includes counselling or medication, including antidepressants.

Self-care

Avoid alcohol
May be harmful and aggravate certain conditions.

Reduce caffeine intake
Reduces risk of aggravating certain conditions.

Physical exercise
Aerobic activity for 20–30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health. If injured, pursuing an activity that avoids the injured muscle group or joint can help maintain physical function while recovering.

Stress management
Pursuing an enjoyable activity or verbalising frustration to reduce stress and improve mental health.

Quitting smoking
Quitting smoking tobacco.

Relaxation techniques
Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, rhythmic exercise and other activities that reduce symptoms of stress

Healthy diet
A diet that provides essential nutrients and adequate calories, while avoiding excess sugar, carbohydrates and fatty foods.

Therapies

Cognitive behavioral therapy
A talk therapy focused on modifying negative thoughts, behaviours and emotional responses associated with psychological distress.

Meditation
Improves mental health and helps with relaxation.

Psychotherapy
Treatment of mental or behavioural disorders through talk therapy.

Medications

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)
Eases symptoms of depressed mood and anxiety.

Anxiolytic
Relieves anxiety and tension. May promote sleep.

Antidepressant
Prevents or relieves depression and elevates mood.

Sedative
Causes drowsiness, calmness and dulled senses. Some types may become addictive.

Nerve pain medication
Blocks pain caused by damaged nerves.

Specialists

Clinical Psychologist
Treats mental disorders primarily with talk therapy.

Psychiatrist
Treats mental disorders primarily with medications.

Primary Care Provider (PCP)
Prevents, diagnoses and treats diseases.