Quite a common term used by people in general.
Frequently used loosely to indicate a vague feeling.
But what does it actually mean?
How to help someone with this problem?
Anxiety is a very common feeling of uneasiness and restlessness felt by almost everyone some or the other time of their lives. It is sometimes a useful emotion which can help improving the performance or handling a situation. Let’s say if there is an exam on the next day, a student feels anxious for the result. He/she will study hard to learn most of the things and try to give their best. But imagine if the anxiety is so much that the student is not able to concentrate. In such condition, the performance is bound to deteriorate. Thus, we can say that anxiety helps to some extent but if it is too much, it will affect the functioning. So, normal anxiety becomes an illness when it is too distressing and is affecting the functioning of the person.
Now, if we talk about the symptoms, they can be psychological (in the mind) or physical (bodily symptoms). Person will feel restless, not able to sit at a place with fidgeting and excessive sweating. Heart rate would be high and breathing would be heavy and difficult. Sometimes the person will feel as if he is going to die. Poor concentration, irritability, difficulty sleeping etc can also be present.
These symptoms can be present for whole day and the person would feel anxious and worried about the daily chores. In other cases, the person will have episodes or attacks of such symptoms for a brief period of time. Sometimes, the person will have these complaints at particular places/situations; and in other cases, they will not be situation-specific.
When these symptoms are so distressing that the person is not able to work properly at home, at workplace or at school, we have to consider it as an illness and proper psychiatric treatment should be provided through professionals. With the growing knowledge in the field, different treatment modalities are currently available to cure this disabling ailment.
Dr. Ankit Chaudhary
MBBS, MD (Psychiatry)