– An abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.

– A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties

– The response to a stressor, involving, body, emotions, thinking (cognition ) and behaviour.

Good Or Bad?

– Anxiety is considered to be a normal reaction to a stressor.

– It may help an individual to deal with a demanding situation by prompting them to cope with it.

– It makes the individual VIGILANT & ALERT.

– It makes one take proactive actions against al possible dangerous situations/ threats.

– Optimal amount of anxiety is helpful in a situations like- test/exam, job interview, competition to take out the best in a person and keeping him aroused & alert.

– However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder.

Fear v/s Anxiety

– Anxiety is a response to a stimulus, could be real or imaginary, identifiable or unidentifiable.

– It could be persistent, sometime even without a relevant stimulus.

– While Fear is an appropriate response to a perceived threat.

– Fear is more focused, while anxiety is more generalized.

– Fear is short lived and focused on the present ( present threat), whereas anxiety is focused on future/ upcoming threat.

Types of Anxiety

– Anxious/ avoidant Personality Disorder

– Social Anxiety

– Generalized Anxiety Disorder

– Panic Disorder

– Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

– Phobia

– Optimal amount of anxiety is helpful in a situations like- test/exam, job interview, competition to take out the best in a person and keeping him aroused & alert.

– However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

– DSM IV Criteria for Dianosis of APD:

– Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection

– Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked

– Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

– Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations

– Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy

– Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others

– Is unusually reluctant to take personal risk or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

Genralized Anxiety Disorder

– Non-specific, persistent fear and worry and become overly concerned with everyday matters.

– A diagnosis of GAD is made when a person has been excessively worried about an everyday problem for six months or more.

– A person may find they have problems making daily decisions and remembering commitments as a result of lack of concentration/preoccupation with worry s. Work & personal life are seriously impaired.

Social Anxiety

– An intense fear and avoidance of negative public scrutiny, public embarrassment, humiliation, or social interaction. This fear can be specific to particular social situations (such as public speaking) or, is experienced in almost all social interactions.

Panic Disorder

– Brief attacks of intense terror and apprehension, often marked by trembling, shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing.

– Can be triggered by stress, fear, or even exercise; the specific cause is not always apparent.

– May last for 10 min to several hours.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder which results from a traumatic experience. Post-traumatic stress can result from an extreme situation, such as combat, natural disaster, rape, hostage situations, child abuse or even a serious accident. It can also result from long term exposure to a severe stressor.

– Common symptoms include hyper vigilance, flashbacks, avoidant behaviors, anxiety, anger and depression.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

– Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder primarily characterized by repetitive obsessions (distressing, persistent, and intrusive thoughts or images) and compulsions (urges to perform specific acts or rituals).


– Fear and anxiety triggered by a specific stimulus or situation.

– Sufferers typically anticipate terrifying consequences from encountering the object of their fear, which can be anything from an animal to a location to a particular situation.

– Fear is not proportional to the actual potential danger.

Causes of Anxiety

– In the Brain – Anxiety is associated with changes / lack of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

– Genetics. Researchers know that if Anxiety disorders runs in your family then there is a high probability of developing the same.

– Age. People who are elderly are at higher risk of developing GAD. Younger individuals are more prone to developing social anxiety.

– Health conditions. Conditions such as cancer, heart disease, recurrent infections, allergies are associated with anxiety disorders.

– Changes and stressful events. It’s not surprising that people might become anxious during stressful times..

— Loneliness

— Lack of social support

— Marital or relationship problems

— Financial strain

— Early childhood trauma or abuse

— Unemployment or underemployment

– Medications and substances. Many prescription drugs can cause symptoms of anxiety. Alcohol or substance abuse is also associated and makes the condition worse.

Symptoms of Anxiety

– Feelings of apprehension or dread

– Trouble concentrating

– Feeling tense and jumpy

– Anticipating the worst

– Irritability

– Restlessness

– Watching for signs of danger

– Feeling like your mind’s gone blank

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

– Pounding heart

– Sweating

– Sinking feeling in the stomach

– Frequent urination or diarrhea

– Difficulty in breathing or heavy breathing

– Tremors and twitches

– Muscle tension, esp around head and neck

– Headaches

– Fatigue

– Insomnia/Inability to sleep

Managing Anxiety


Drug Therapy


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Talk Therapy, Exposure Therapy

– ACTIVITY & EXERCISE, helps release neurotransmitters.

– LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION- Nutrition, Occupation, Activity, Environment.

– REDUCING INTAKE OF- Alcohol, Caffeine, Nicotine


Homeopathy & Bach Flower Therapy



Yoga, Meditation, Biofeedback, Imagery/ Positive Visualization, etc


Family & friends


— Helps cope with current situation, adversities in general, being prepared for any future episodes.

— Helps dealing with negative emotions & appropriate emotional expression.

How and when to seek help?

– We all have our own ways to coping with situations, sometimes they don’t work. When they don’t… you will know, which is by way of symptoms.

– This is the time you need to seek help, which may be from a friend, family member, a person who is unbiased and non judgmental.

– Best would be a doctor or counselor, who would listen, understand, empathise, suggest solutions, or help in any or every way.


– Try not to be a people pleaser.

– Being aware & mindful of your thoughts & behaviors.

– Having realistic expectations from yourself and those around you.

– Control your emotions and express them at appropriate time, situation and person.

– Work on your self-esteem & confidence levels

– A Break – no matter how short or long, it does help.

– Appreciation – complementing one self on smallest of gestures or achievements.

Have faith in yourself and Hope for a better tomorrow!

Source by Dr Anshita Singh Rathore