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Anxiety

Introduction

“I am afraid when there is nothing to be afraid of. Suddenly I feel scare, my heart beat palpable, sweating and feel something bad going to happen to me? These phenomenons are common and it called anxiety. Anxiety is how we feel when under real or perceived threat.

Signs and Symptoms

Psychological symptoms :

  • A general sense of apprehension and dread
  • Worrying
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Jumpiness
  • Irritation

Physical symptoms :

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Stomach problems (gnawing feeling, “butterflies,” diarrhoea, irritated bowel syndrome)
  • Breaking out in a sweat, or feeling cold and clammy
  • Headaches, light-headedness or dizziness
  • Bodily tension or aches
  • Fatigue

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are many types of anxiety disorders :

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
    • The person suffers from persistent anxiety throughout the day. He always worried about most things. This person appears always in a state of anxiousness.
  2. Panic Disorder
    • Sudden, unpredictable, intense anxiety without apparent reason. So intense is the attack that the person always thought he is going to die.
  3. Phobias
    • The attack of anxiety is always associated with specific object or situation. For example in presence of snake, spider, high rise building, crowded places, public ceremony or flying.
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • The intense anxiety experience by a person following exposure to severe and catastrophic events like earthquake, tsunami, war and being rape. The person may have flashback, dream and avoidance of similar situation.
  5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • The person have irrational thought that is intrusive and repetitive (obsessive thought) for example he feel the hand is dirty He will feel apprehensive and anxious about the thought. He has to carry out the act, for example repeatedly wash his hand (compulsive act) in order to bring down his anxiety.

Complication

If left untreated or under treated, it can become chronic and impaired our abilities to carry out daily activities.

Treatment

Full assessment by doctor is necessary to rule out causes by other medical condition (such as thyrotoxicosis) or medications. There are of treatment options :

  • Pharmacotherapy:
    • These involved prescription of medication (anxiolytics). Usually these medication only for a short duration to bring rapid relief before the effect of other treatment became apparent.
  • Psychotherapy:
    • These involved no hold talking to your therapist in order to discover the real source of your anxiety, to discover yourself and to find alternative more effective coping skills to deal with the demand of everyday life.
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy:
    • This therapy involve changing the way you think and perceive about the event around you. You also learn new way of coping with the stressful situation by being exposed to that situation in a therapeutic way.
  • Relaxation techniques:
    • Many techniques on how to make yourself relaxing and less anxious will be thought during the session

Please discuss with your doctor the treatment options available to you.

Prevention

Stress reduction techniques .

Rehabilitation

Every psychiatric department in general hospital have an occupational therapy unit with trained staffs to help you recover from your illness. Some health centres are equipped with community psychosocial rehabilitation unit to help you recover from your illness and regain your confidence to work and interact with society.

Support groups

  • KAMI (Family support group of Johor)
  • MMHA (Malaysian Mental Health Association-PJ)
  • Each state family support group