Anxiety and fear-related disorders

    • Brief

    • Fear and worrying may be normal when they happen once in a while. Everyday events make you worried and afraid in anxiety disorders. Work, school and family events may come with panic attacks. Panic attacks may be sudden and exaggerated within minutes.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • Most people will have excessive fear or worry as the main symptom.

      Your specific symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder you have.

      • You may constantly feel like something bad is about to happen to you.
      • You may feel very restless and start shaking. you may even experience some irregular heartbeats (See post on what is an abnormal heartbeat)
      • You may start avoiding people, places, or things that make you scared.


      • Excessive, unrealistic worrying if you have generalised anxiety disorders.
      • You avoid social gatherings or are more self-conscious than necessary if you have social anxiety disorders.
      • Sudden sweating, feeling or hearing your own heartbeats if you have panic disorders.

      Excessive and sudden fear or panic in a closed space, like an aeroplane or public bus, in agoraphobia.

    • What are the causes?

    • Anxiety itself is normal. Having an exaggerated response to fear and worries, and not being able to control them, can be caused by many negative factors coming together at the same time. Causes can include mental conditions, inherited sensitivities, stress, medical conditions and drug abuse.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • Your chances of having an anxiety disorder may be higher, if you have one or more of these factors:

      • Family members or parents with mental health problems.
      • Emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child.
      • Stressful life events like severe illness or long-term illnesses.
      • If you have other mental illnesses like depression or personality disorder.
      • Health problems that can cause anxiety such as problems with your thyroid gland or asthma.
      • Drug and alcohol abuse or misuse can worsen anxiety.
      • Shyness and being withdrawn as a child may be linked to social anxiety in teenagers and young adults.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • If you have one or more symptoms identified above, see your healthcare provider immediately. If you are finding it difficult to control your worries and think you may harm yourself or others, then you need to get professional help immediately.

    • How to prevent?

    • Anxiety disorders are not preventable. You can, however, reduce the severity of symptoms through professional care, self-care and avoiding triggers like stress.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Anxiety can be managed to help you live a normal life.

      1. Selfcare tips
        • Be involved in your care by asking questions and learning about the disorder. You will be better equipped to deal manage events.
        • Managing stresses by eating right (avoid foods that contain caffeine and alcohol), stay physically active, getting adequate sleep and rest.
        • Belonging to a support group. This can help you discuss your treatment journey with others who have similar disorders and encourage you to continue with your treatment.
      2. Treatment options
        • Your healthcare provider may recommend a type of counselling that will help you control your fears and anxiety and manage negative events (Cognitive behavioural therapy).
        • Your healthcare provider may also prescribe drugs that will help you cope in stressful events, like drugs used to treat depression, reduce anxiety, treat convulsion or high blood pressure.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Anxiety disorder is a long-term illness and living with it can be scary both as a patient and caregiver. Getting professional help and the support of family and friends can help you live well.
      Managing this disorder will require time, patience and collaboration with your healthcare provider. People who get involved in their own care do better in the long-term managing their symptoms.