|Dr. Girish Banwari, Specialist Psychiatrist|
Dr. Girish Banwari is a psychiatrist at Camali Clinic with over 10 years’ clinical experience in both government and private settings in specialised psychiatry clinics as well as tertiary care, multi-speciality hospitals. He has worked as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at reputed medical colleges in India and was extensively involved in teaching undergraduate medical students along with being a faculty member of the postgraduate psychiatry training program. He has a special interest in Psychopharmacology and can treat patients of all ages with a focus on adults and the elderly.
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. It is most often characterized by a diffuse, unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension, commonly accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, restlessness, sweating, trembling, butterflies in the stomach, losing control etc.
It is quite normal and natural to feel anxious about moving to a new place, taking a test, making an important decision, or facing a challenging situation. This type of anxiety is unpleasant, but it can help a person to stay alert and focused, spur one to action, and motivate one to solve problems. Ordinary anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes but does not significantly interfere with one’s everyday life.
When anxiety becomes intense, excessive, persistent or overwhelming, one might have likely crossed the threshold from normal anxiety into the zone of an anxiety disorder. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and maintaining relationships.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
People with GAD display excessive anxiety or worry, about several things such as health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances, or activities, usually accompanied by the following symptoms –
Panic attacks are periods of intense fear that come on abruptly, reach their peak and subside quickly, usually within minutes. Attacks can be triggered by a feared object or situation, or they sometimes seem to happen for no apparent reason, completely “out of the blue.” When a person has unexpected panic attacks repeatedly, it is termed panic disorder.
During a panic attack, people may experience some of the following symptoms –
The term phobia refers to excessive and intense fear of a specific object, circumstance, or situation. People with a phobia have the following symptoms –
People with social phobia have an intense fear of, or anxiety toward, social or performance situations. They worry that their actions or behaviours will be negatively evaluated by others, leading them to feel embarrassed. This worry often causes them to avoid social situations.
Causes of anxiety
Genetic, neurochemical and environmental factors can contribute to the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Known risk factors are as follows –
Management of anxiety
This is a type of counselling, wherein a mental health specialist helps the person by talking about how to understand and deal with the symptoms of anxiety.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - This is a type of psychotherapy that teaches how to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviours that trigger and maintain anxiety, hence resulting in symptom reduction or resolution.
Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used as first-line treatments for anxiety, they have known and proven efficacy in treating anxiety disorders.
Other medications such as benzodiazepines are indicated for short term use to reduce acute symptoms of anxiety, they are quite potent and effective, but carry dependence and abuse potential, if used for long term.
Other practices that might reduce anxiety include –
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