Anxiety is a condition that everyone experiences at times – you may feel anxious or nervous due to workplace or home related problems, when making a crucial decision, appearing for exams, etc. Anxiety neurosis or anxiety disorder, however, differs from routine anxiety. It is a mental illness characterized by extreme worry and agitation, that is constant, occurring without an obvious cause, and affects your daily life significantly.
Anxiety can manifest in several different ways;
1. Generalised anxiety disorder – Excessive worry about minor day to day events;about what might happen next.
2. Panic disorder –
Intense, sudden fear-ridden episodes that reccur, and are accompanied by physical symptoms like shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, a feeling that one may go crazy or may die, sweating, shaking of hands and dizziness, etc
3. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Irrational fear and thoughts (obsessions) resulting in repetitive, uncontrolled actions (compulsions) or thoughts such as excessive checking, cleaning and washing etc.
4. Social anxiety disorder – uneasiness, feeling extremely concious of oneself, fear and avoidance of social situations such as public speaking, hanging out with friends etc.
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Anxiety due to vivid memories of traumatic life event in the past
6. Specific phobia – Anxiety and irrational fear of certain objects and situations like being trapped in a lift etc.
Research findings suggest that anxiety neurosis may be caused by chronic stress that can alter the balance of chemicals in the brain that control mood. Anxiety disorders may also run in families and can be passed on from one generation to next. Further, certain environmental factors, like experiencing a traumatic life event may trigger the condition in those who are genetically susceptible to it.
Different forms of anxiety neurosis exhibit different symptoms, but common symptoms include:
1. Feeling of fear and panic
2. Uncontrollable uneasy thoughts
3. Repeated flashback or nightmares of a traumatic experience
4. Recurring obsessive thoughts and behaviours
5. Trouble falling asleep
6. Shortness of breath
9. Muscle tension
10. Nausea, dizziness
11. Dry mouth