Anxiety: Disorder, Meaning, and Symptoms


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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an umbrella term for, and the main symptom of, a wide range of disorders such as nervousness, fear, apprehension, excessive worrying, panic disorder, and phobias – such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia.

How does anxiety occur?

A person can be said to be suffering from anxiety when he/she over thinks too much about daily duties or is in a state of panic even after a problem he/she faced has dissipated. Feeling anxious about situations such as money, exams, etc are normal. However, after the problem disappears, ideally the anxiety should disappear. Intervention is needed if the anxiety is prolonged.  

Anxiety is a common symptom of:

  • panic disorder, which can be accompanied by sudden palpitations, and sweating.
  • social anxiety disorder, or intense fear of being judged in a social setting.
  • certain phobias such as agoraphobia (fear of certain places) or claustrophobia (fear of being enclosed in a small space).
  • separation anxiety disorder, which is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that is excessive for the developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
  • generalized anxiety disorder that includes persistent and excessive anxiety and a need for worrying, even about ordinary, and routine issues.

Who is prone to anxiety?

There are some people who are more prone to anxiety than others:

  • Women suffer from anxiety more than men. Also, the fight-or-flight response is activated more readily in women and stays activated for a longer period than in men, partly as a result of the action of estrogen and progesterone in the brain chemistry.
  • People who experience long-term stress, either due to their jobs or relationships.
  • People who have had unpleasant childhood experiences, for example, those who faced bullying, or those who have been brought up by parents who taught them to fear a lot of things, or those who have been abused or neglected as children by those around them.
  • People who have experienced traumas such as sexual assaults, the death of dear ones, serious accidents etc.
  • People who have undergone a big change in their lives.
  • People who suffer from chronic ailments.
  • People who abuse drugs or are alcoholics.

What are the causes of anxiety?

There can be numerous causes of anxiety, such as:

  • Long-term Stress
  • Traumas
  • Phobias
  • Panic
  • Difficult or abusive childhood experiences
  • Sudden big change in life
  • Chronic ailments
  • Difficult relationships
  • Drug abuse or alcoholism
  • Lifestyle

What are the symptoms of anxiety? How is anxiety diagnosed?

The most common symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Feeling nervous
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Feeling powerless
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate


You can visit your family doctor if you feel your anxiety is affecting your daily life, and depending on your condition your doctor can, in turn, refer you to a mental health counsellor.

Before that, however, the doctor will perform some medical tests, such as blood tests and urine tests to make sure that the anxiety is not linked to any underlying medical condition or is the result of taking any medicines such as blood pressure medicines, oral contraceptives, etc.

He will also ask you detailed questions about your symptoms and medical history.
A mental health counsellor will use psychological questionnaires to determine a diagnosis.

What are the complications of anxiety?

The complications of anxiety include:

What is the treatment of anxiety?

Medical Treatment for Anxiety

Depending on your condition the doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety drugs or anti-depressants.


Exercise is vital not only for physical health but also for maintaining mental fitness. It can reduce stress to a large extent and thus reduce anxiety. In fact, a 10-minute walk can be just as good as a 45-minute workout to reduce anxiety and depression. Before deciding on an exercise, however, it is necessary to consult a doctor for a diagnosis that the anxiety is not linked to any medical condition. You can opt for exercises like yoga, swimming, aerobics, or walking.

Would you like to consult a doctor for Anxiety ?

Patient Experiences

Ravi Gopalan
Right Guidance for Anxiety
********** ****** *** ** ** ****** ** ************ ************ I have been suffering from severe anxiety and depession for the past 6 months. I have been to a lot of doctors in the past and I suffering from personal relationship problems where I needed professional help. Dr. Latha really tries to help you. She listens to you without judging you and gives you the right guidance. Also, once I did not have the full amount that she charges and she just asked me not to worry about it and to just pay the next time. Dr. Latha really cares about you and she just doesn't try to make money of you like other Doctors I have seen over the years for my mental problems. ***** * ***** *** ***** ** ********* ************* *** ******** She gives appropriate guidance and suggests several non-medical methods that would help the patient. She talks as if she is one of your own family member which increases the confidence in the patient. I would highly recommend Dr. Latha to anyone in need to relationship or personal counselling. Five Stars!...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Latha Janaki (PhD)
Jays Multi- Speciality Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Reduced with Counselling
Sriskanth sir is very good at pinpointing the problems and then providing solution. i got very relief from my anxieties and emotions problems. overall my problems i am facing is greatly reduced , since i started undergoing treatment. I personally feel time to heal varies on how deep routed is the problem. He treat patients with friendly nature. i have never seen such a professional and cerebrate person, treating patients in such a friendly way, i am so satisfied with his treatment , i am started my 2nd innings of my life , relations and carrier after HIS treatment... now i am FULLY HAPPY .....................Read Less
Doctor in this story :Mr. Goggi Srikanth
GVA Institute Of Psychology

Did you know?

Anxiety among the Indian population

Anxiety, affects 25% of the population in India, and is possibly the first stage to the serious-to-handle depression.

Every fifth Indian suffers from anxiety disorder

Or so goes the unwritten belief among India's psychiatrists.

Women suffer more

Anxiety disorders also occur earlier in women than in men.

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Home Remedies

Eat a heavy breakfast

People with anxiety usually have the tendency to skip breakfast. And an empty stomach can make one more depressed, and jittery, as well fatigued. A full stomach in the morning can keep all the negative emotions at bay.

Take omega-3s

In a study, students who took 2.5 milligrams a day of mixed omega-3 fatty acids for 12 weeks experienced less anxiety before an exam than students taking placebo. Fish oils are good for the heart and also keeps depression at bay.

Do nature bathing or as the Japanese call it a 'forest bath'

Take a walk in the woods or in a forest or even a park . The sights of the greenery, and sounds of perhaps a running stream and the smell of the woods, flowers, significantly lowers stress hormone levels.

Do mindfulness meditation

Go for a course like Vipassana or practice any mindfulness meditation. This will help you to gain more awareness of yourself and help you to be fully present in now rather than dwelling on the past or being anxious about the future.

Drink Plenty of Water

Keeping yourself hydrated can keep relieve you of the symptoms of anxiety. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, jitteriness and more anxiety.