Is it normal to feel anxious?
Feeling anxious occasionally is part and parcel of life. For example, you may feel anxious when are you taking exams, facing challenges at work or at home, awaiting important results or making big decisions. You should be able to calm down when the stressful situation is over. But for some individuals, the fear or anxious feeling is constantly present. You may have anxiety disorder if you feel anxious on most days for at least six months.
How common is anxiety disorder?
The proportion of the global population with anxiety disorders in 2015 is estimated to be 3.6%. Based on WHO data, more females than males are affected (4.6% female vs 2.6% male worldwide).
What are the common symptoms of anxiety disorder?
Worrying too much:
- Constant, irrational fear and disproportionate worrying when responding to normal daily situations.
- Some individuals may start avoiding people, places or situations.
- Individuals can be overwhelmed by worries leading to inability to stay focus. Work performance and daily functions may be affected.
- Some studies have suggested that working memory (capability to retain short term information) can be impaired by anxiety.
- Feeling uncomfortable or ‘on the edge’ because of constant negative thoughts or fear about various things in life. It is just difficult to relax or to be at ease.
Tiredness and difficulty sleeping:
- An anxiety attack may lead to mental and physical exhaustion although individuals may find trouble resting or sleeping due to constant mental hyperarousal.
Feeling annoyed and easily irritated:
- Fatigue, constant distress and negative thoughts can cause individuals to perceive things or people around them to be irritants.
- Signs of anxiety attack include, sweating, sweaty palms, shaking, trembling, racing heart, increase in blood pressure, chest tightness or shortness of breath
- WHO (2017). Depression and other common mental disorders: Global health estimates.
- National Institute of Mental Health
- American Psychiatric Association