Taking note of anxiety symptoms and other signs of anxiety is the first step in understanding how to deal with anxiety.
We all feel anxious from time to time. Anxiety is a feeling of discomfort and worry that is often associated with a range of physical sensations.
We may experience anxiety when we attend a job interview, do something new or when confronted with something we are scared of. While anxiety is an emotion that we all experience, for some, anxiety is felt at an intensity and duration that significantly impacts their life at a sufficient severity to be considered an anxiety disorder.
There are many types of anxiety disorders including phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety disorders vary depending on what is feared and how one responds to the anxiety. Anxiety disorders are associated with the experience of fear and anxiety which disrupts day-to-day functioning.
The symptoms of anxiety include a combination of physical, thinking and behavioural signs including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased muscle tension and muscle aches
- Pounding heart (palpitations)
- Repeated negative thoughts or excessive worrying
- Nausea or abdominal discomfort
- Intense fear
- Trembling or shaking
- Sense of helplessness or impending doom
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Avoidance of feared situations
There is no single cause for anxiety. Anxiety is caused by a variety of factors. These include:
Like managing any emotional response, we can all improve our skills and learn more effective ways of dealing with anxiety. Strategies to managing anxiety include:
Managing anxiety is most effective when we have strong social support. Friends and family play an invaluable role in providing support to those who are trying to manage anxiety.
While some people may benefit from self-help strategies, for others managing their anxiety may require the help and support of a mental health professional. Anxiety disorders respond well to treatment, particularly if identified and treated early.
Psychological treatments, particularly Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, are extremely effective in treating anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy focuses on teaching people how to challenge patterns of unhelpful thinking that contribute to intense anxiety. It also helps people respond more effectively to anxiety-provoking situations. Psychological treatments can assist with developing a range of skills to identify and manage emotions more effectively, including anxiety.
In some cases, medications such as benzodiazepines and anti-depressants may be required to support treatment.
There are many treatments and support options available for people who may be feeling anxious. If you, or someone close to you, is having difficulties dealing with anxiety, seek help early by consulting your family doctor or refer to the
Find Help - Services for Mental Health Support directory.
Try this self-assessment tool for anxiety.
Visit MindSG for more tools to take care of your mental well-being.
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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