Feeling anxious is a normal, required emotion that everyone faces. An evolutionary necessity, it is our brain’s way of alerting us to danger – real or perceived. However, this is categorised as a problem when it is excessive, out of context and leads to behaviours that cause an individual to avoid certain situations that trigger the anxiety. This could include avoiding school, college or work, family gatherings and social situations, only wanting to stay at home or in a familiar environment. Anxiety disorders are categorized as such when they cause significant distress and the daily functioning of the individual is hampered. While its manifestation may differ, anxiety is seen across all the age groups.
Certain characteristics of an anxiety disorder may include panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder. The anxiety may also be generalised and not specific to any event or situation.
Some of the symptoms include restlessness, and a feeling of being “on-edge”, uncontrollable feelings of worry, increased irritability, concentration difficulties, problem falling or staying asleep.
Based on the severity of the anxiety, medication may or may not be required. Therapeutic techniques such as counseling, relaxation therapy, stress management and suitable lifestyle changes can help an individual manage their anxiety to ensure it does not get debilitating.