By Naseera Nanbhai
Anxiety is a feeling of intense and excessive worry and fear about everyday occurrences or future situations. While everyone experiences it from time to time, and it is normal to feel anxious in commonly stressful situations, excessive anxiety can be the result of an underlying disease especially when it interferes with daily life.
Anxiety disrupts a person’s daily life when it affects relationships with others, self-confidence, and one’s ability to complete daily tasks. People with anxiety disorders may find it harder to try new things, to take risks or sometimes to even leave their house.
While the causes of anxiety disorders are not yet conclusive, life experiences and past traumatic events have been regarded as triggers to anxiety disorders, particularly for people who are already prone to anxiety.
Other risk factors include stress build-up, substance abuse, mental health disorders and brain chemistry. Different types of anxiety include social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety, panic disorders and agoraphobia. The most common type of anxiety being generalized anxiety disorder which is characterised by excessive unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason.
Anxiety increases a person’s breathing and heart rate can cause headaches, panic attacks, breathing problems, irritability and increase blood pressure. It may also cause a person to feel light-headed or nauseous, experience muscle tension and or insomnia.
Anxiety can be treated using self-care techniques, such as relaxation, physical exercise, deep breathing, stress management, following a healthy diet and reducing caffeine. Further treatments include talk therapy such as psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Medications that treat specific symptoms can also be taken if prescribed.