Everyone experiences anxiety. The experiences of individuals may vary. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent of all psychiatric conditions. As a group of disorders they are characterised by a feeling of restlessness associated with a host of physical symptoms like, breathlessness, palpitations, sweating, cold clammy hands, tremulousness, fainting spells, etc.
Anxiety disorders mainly include: Panic disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Phobias.
- The treatment of anxiety disorders at Manovikas clinic, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, usually includes a combination approach, i.e., combining biological therapy (medications) with psychotherapy. Biological therapy mainly includes medications in the form of anxiolytics. Medications that are used as anti-depressants (SSRIs) also are used in anxiety disorders.
- Psychotherapy mainly includes behaviour therapies, cognitive therapy and relaxation exercises. Yoga and meditation is also recommended.
Signs of anxiety
Panic Disorder is characterised by episodes of restlessness unexpected and spontaneous episodes of panic or ‘panic attacks’. During these episodes, patient experiences intense fear, accompanied a myriad of physical symptoms like: sweating, a pounding heart or palpitations, trembling or shaking, breathlessness or a feeling of choking, nausea, ‘butterflies in stomach’ sensations, chest pain, feeling dizzy or light-headed, etc. They may vary from patient to patient. Patients may also complain of fear of losing control or dying.
Panic disorder is diagnosed when these panic attacks are recurrent and accompanied by a concern for further attacks and the consequences of further attacks.
- Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia is characterised by an intense fear of social or performance situations. Persons suffering fear situations where they may be exposed to unfamiliar individuals or in situations where there may be possible scrutiny by others. Individuals fear that they may act in a way that will be embarrassing or humiliating, especially as their anxiety symptoms will be visible to others. They may start avoiding such situations or face distress during these situations, leading to socio-occupational impairment, dysfunction on a day-to-day basis.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed in patients who are anxious about almost everything. They suffer excessive anxiety and worry about several events or activities for most days. When this anxiety persists over a 6 month period, a formal diagnosis can be made. Many a times, these worries are accompanied by physical complaints like irritability, restlessness, difficulty sleeping and muscle tension. The anxiety is difficult to control and is very distressing, causing impairment in social and occupational functioning.
- Phobia (Specific Phobia) is characterised by excessive fear of a specific object or situation. This fear is irrational and excessive. The persons may get intensely distressed in the presence of the said object or in the said situation. Despite the person recognising the reaction as excessive, they continue to avoid the object/ situation as much as they can.