What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 4 Australians at some stage in their life. All types of anxiety disorders are treatable but learning about them is the first and most crucial step.
Living with a certain degree of anxiety is normal; it is an alert mechanism that our body has. About 10% of the world's population suffers from a long-term anxiety disorder that does not go away, and it can get worse if left untreated. Fears, intense and persistent worries, and terrors can end up causing severe health issues resulting in chest pains, shortness of breath, palpitations, negative thoughts, fear, and more.
If we do not control anxiety at the right time, it can affect our lives, preventing us from leading a healthy life. Anxiety can occur at any age for many different reasons, including an illness that requires treatment.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Every person experiences a variety of symptoms caused by anxiety. These symptoms can be classified into five different groups:
- Physical: Palpitations, chest tightness, shortness of breath, sweating, tremors, digestive problems, nausea, vomiting, eating disorders, muscle stiffness, fatigue, tingling, and feeling dizzy. In some cases, sexual dysfunction may also appear.
- Psychological: Restlessness, feeling of threat or danger, desire to flee or attack, insecurity, feeling of emptiness, fear of losing control, uncertainty, difficulty making decisions, and negative thoughts. In more extreme cases, suicide may occur.
- Behavioral: Impulsivity, motor restlessness, difficulty staying still, resting, alertness, clumsiness, or difficulty acting. These symptoms are often accompanied by other signs such as changes in body language: closed postures, clumsy movements of the hands and arms, stiffness, numbness in jaw, voice changes, and unnecessary doubts.
- Intellectual or Cognitive: Difficulties with concentration, poor memory, increased carelessness, excessive worry, negative expectations, distorted thoughts, increased doubts and the feeling of confusion, tendency to remember unpleasant things, and inadequate interpretations.
- Social: Irritability, self-absorption, difficulties in starting or carry a conversation, in some cases, blocking or going blank when asking or answering, difficulties in expressing opinions or asserting one's rights, and fear of being rejected.
Types of Anxiety
There are five major types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder: Characterised by persistent tension and worry. It includes physical discomfort and is often in addition to other anxiety disorders and depression.
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD): Characterised by repeated disturbing thoughts and behaviours. Those affected with this disorder perform repetitive or ritual actions. This disorder usually appears in childhood or adolescence.
- Post-traumatic Stress (PTSD): Caused by a traumatic experience that involves a terrifying event. You may feel that the trauma is repeating itself. It may not only affect the patient but also the people around him.
- Panic Disorder: Repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety, fear, or terror. People with this disorder often experience shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart palpitations.
- Social Phobia: Fear or refusal to be in society. People with social phobia disorder have feelings of shame, insecurity, and concern about what others think about them.
Treatment of Anxiety
If you feel any of the symptoms above, it is best to contact a psychiatrist or psychologist who can diagnose your condition and make a treatment plan which is right for you. There are effective therapies for anxiety disorders that can help most people lead productive and fulfilling lives.
At Hellodoc, we have Psychiatrists and Psychologists who can assess, diagnose, and manage Anxiety and related conditions.
If you and your loved ones need assessment, please contact us after obtaining a referral from your GP.
The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please speak to your doctor for advice about your situation. HelloDoc is not liable for any consequences arising from relying on this information.