Anxiety is a psychological state characterized by a sense of worry or anticipation over a future concern. It is normal to experience some degree of anxiety, but it can become a problem when it is excessive compared to the object or event of concern or when it interferes with a person’s daily life.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety
- Excessive fear or worry
- Feelings of panic
- Increased heart rate
- Breathing too quickly (i.e. hyperventilation)
- Disturbed sleep (e.g. insomnia)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Avoiding situations that provoke anxiety
Anxiety disorders include
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): excessive anxiety about various aspects of one’s life (e.g. school, work, social activities) that is difficult to control and lasts for six months or more.
- Social anxiety disorder (SDA; sometimes called social phobia): excessive anxiety relating to social situations (e.g. parties, meeting new people) where there is the possibility of scrutiny by others.
- Panic disorder: involves unexpected and recurrent panic attacks and the fear of having further attacks or behaviours aimed at avoiding future attacks. Panic attacks involve an overwhelming sense of fear, a racing heart, trembling, hyperventilation, and sweating.