What is Anxiety?

When we worry too much about everything, its like intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Rapid breathing, fast heart rate may occur.

For example,  trembling before your exam, palms getting sweaty before a  job interview? Feeling anxious is a natural way for the body to prepare itself for an important event. When that event gets over ; you start to breathe easier and your heart stops thumping. Such an anxiety actually helps us perform better as it makes us more alert.

However, some people face anxiety attacks without any apparent reason. It might be a case of an anxiety disorder, if you find it hard to control your worries and that hinders your daily activities.

Facing anxiety can be considered a common human emotion when dealing with daily stresses and problems. But when these emotions are persistent and excessive  and affect a person’s ability to function, anxiety becomes a disorder. There are different types of anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic and stress disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

What is the difference between regular anxiety and an anxiety disorder?

A From the information given below you can check whether you have the common anxiety or anxiety disorder.

Regular anxiety

  • Fear of a dangerous object, place or situation, for example, a stray dog barking at you on the street.
  • Worrying about bills, job interviews, tests or other important events.
  • Breaking into a sweat before a big match.
  • Sadness or worry immediately after a traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one.

Anxiety disorder

  • Fearing any social or performance-related situations, in which you may be exposed to possible criticism by others. You fear that you will act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing.
  • Irrational fear of an object or place, such as fear of entering an elevator believing that it will stop in the middle and an escape might be not possible.
  • Worrying persistently and excessively for no apparent reason, making it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities.
  • Performing excessive and repetitive cleaning around you worrying constantly about hygiene.
  • 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.
  • Repeated flashbacks, dreams and subsequent worry following exposure to an extremely traumatic event in the past. Past Traumas.


Symptoms: Repeated negative thoughts, muscle tension,  apprehension, confusion, on edge, a sense of helplessness, palpitations and difficulty breathing.

A 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:

  • Tightening sensation in the chest
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate and heavy breathing
  • Unsubstantiated and growing worries, and restlessness
  • Obsessing over needless things leading to compulsive behavior


The most common factors that cause anxiety disorders are:

  • Stressful events: Stress at the workplace, loss of a loved one, or troubled relationships, can also trigger symptoms of anxiety.
  • Health issues: Ailments such as thyroid problems, asthma, diabetes or a heart disease can also cause anxiety. People suffering from depression can also develop symptoms of anxiety disorders. For instance, someone who has been suffering from depression for a long period, may start to under-perform at work. This can then lead to work-related stress which could trigger anxiety.
  • Family history: People who have a history of mental health issues in the family may usually have problems with anxiety. For instance, OCD can be passed down in a family.
  • Substance use: People who are heavy users of drugs, alcohol and other substances, develop anxiety problems when the effects of the substance begin to wear off (in withdrawal).
  • Personality factors: Sometimes, people with certain personality traits such as perfectionists or people who like to be in control, develop anxiety-related issues.


Treatment and help: Simple strategies, such as relaxation techniques and regular exercise, are effective in reducing anxiety and contributing to emotional well-being. Psychotherapy can help and is sometimes used together with medication to reduce and eliminate signs and symptoms.

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 medicationcounseling or a combination of the two.

Caring for someone with anxiety disorders

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.

Coping with anxiety disorders

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.

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