Anxiety is an uneasy feeling or fear that something unhappy might happen. Mild anxiety is in fact a motivator. When it exceeds and brings physical symptoms, the uneasiness starts with racing heart-beat, chest tightness, fast breathing, excess sweating, hand shaking and inner restlessness. Anxiety by itself is not a problem until it affects daily functioning and becomes persistent to be called anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is a group of disorders. The group of anxiety disorder includes:
1.Generalised Anxiety Disorder ( GAD)
Commonly seen during childhood, young and middle age, more in women. Family background and life experiences promote the development of Generalised anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder ( GAD)
Excessive worry and anxiety which is irrational Difficulty in controlling the worry Restlessness, Easy fatigue Irritability Muscle tension Difficulty in concentrating Sleep disturbances Disturbed social, occupational relationships Feeling of uneasiness Inability to relax, feeling tense all the time Inability to stop unwanted thinking Heart beating fast, Excess sweating, dry mouth, feeling dizzy, difficulty in breathing, body and hands trembling, irritable bowel, frequent urination Anxiety disorder may co- exist depressive disorder often.
HOW DO I ASSESS MY ANXIETY STATUS?
This is a simple, self report scale to measure the emotional state of anxiety. The test is indicative only and serves as a guide assessing The anxiety scale assesses autonomic arousal, skeletal muscle effects, situational anxiety, and subjective experience of anxious mood. Here is a two minute test ?
Please read each statement and circle a number 0, 1, 2 or 3 which indicates how much the statement applied to you over the past two weeks. There are no right or wrong answers. Do not spend too much time on any statement.
0 Did not apply to me at all 1 Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time 2 Applied to me to a considerable degree or a good part of time 3 Applied to me very much or most of the time
1. I experienced dry mouth at times 0 1 2 3 2. I had fast breathing even when not doing anything 0 1 2 3 3. I had trembling of my hands 0 1 2 3 4. I was worried that I might panic in situations 0 1 2 3 5. I felt I was terribly panicky 0 1 2 3 6. I could feel pounding heart and beating loud 0 1 2 3 7. I feel scared without any valid reason 0 1 2 3
Multiply the score by 2 . When the final score is:
0-9 Normal 10-13 Mild 14-20 Moderate 21-27 Severe 28+ Extremely severe
2. PANIC ATTACKS/ PANIC DISORDER
What is panic attack?
Panic attack is sudden, unexpected, severe attack of fear, discomfort, very fast heart beat, shortness of breath and sweating etc. The attacks are recurrent and a wide range of bodily symptoms may appear.Panic attacks last between 10-60 minutes.
When the panic attacks are recurrent, it is called panic disorder. Panic attacks are extremely distressing and frightening for the individual. Panic attacks create a sense of doom or fear of dying.
Anxiety attack is less severe than a panic attack.
WHO IS PRONE TO GET PANIC ATTACKS?
Highly anxious persons with negative emotions, stressful living conditions, mental disorders in the family members are prone to get panic attacks.
HOW TO STOP APANIC ATTACK?
1. Withdraw from the environment to distract. 2. Deep breathing
TREATMENT OF PANIC ATTACK
Treatment of panic attack is by 1. Medicines 2. Counselling and 3. Neuromodulation ( Brain Stimulation)
Phobia is an irrational fear of something. Phobia is a sense of panic when facing a specific situation. Phobia is an anxiety disorder. Phobia affects normal functioning and is a disability to daily living.. Common phobias are fear of flying, of closed spaces, heights, cockroaches etc. Mere sight or thought or being in the vicinity can trigger the attack. They cannot control their fear towards the object and will choose to avoid.
They may be grouped into: Animal phobias (snakes, cockroaches) Natural environment phobias (heights, water) Situational phobias( lift, planes, closed spaces) Blood- (accidents, violent scenes)
CAUSES OF PHOBIAS
Generally phobias develop during childhood after being a victim to a traumatic experience though phobia can develop at a later life also. The cause is often forgotten. The individual’s temperament, emotions, environmental and genetic factors play a major role in developing phobias.
SYMPTOMS OF PHOBIAS
All the physical and emotional symptoms seen in a panic attack appear in relation to the specific triggering situation/object.
Phobias are treated with medicines and counselling.
4. SOCIAL PHOBIA / SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDERSOCIAL PHOBIA / SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER is anxiety experienced in a social situation the fear of being negatively judged or behaving awkward, being self- conscious in social settings, being rigid. This impairs social functioning and the individual foregoes several opportunities in the social ladder.
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