Anxiety and Related Disorders

While everyone feels anxious or nervous every now and then. Making an important decision, taking a test or going for an interview are all occasions when we may feel anxious. Anxiety disorders, however, are different in that they cause distress that is constant for everyday experiences and issues. There are various forms of anxiety disorders including generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and specific phobias. When anxiety and worry are overwhelming and disabling it can interfere with daily tasks, social situations and relationships and treatment should be sought.

What are the related symptoms?

Depending on the specific anxiety disorder, symptoms may differ. For example, generalised anxiety disorder will include general anxiety symptoms while panic disorder will have more extreme feelings of terror triggered by a feared object or situation. Social anxiety disorder will include the anxiety symptoms when in the presence of others while specific phobias will cause the symptoms to become present when confronted with the specific phobia.
The general symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Panic, fear and worry that is either brought on by a trigger or constant
  • Problems with sleep
  • Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness
  • In cases of panic disorder, feelings of extreme terror
  • In cases of social anxiety or specific phobias, actively avoiding certain situations or objects

What can cause anxiety or a related disorder to develop?

While the cause of these disorders is unknown, they are believed to be caused by a combination of changes in the brain, environmental stress, family history and genetics. Because anxiety disorders often involve constant worry, fear and fear it is important to seek help from a health professional like Dr Chawane since these disorders often worsen over time. It is also common for those with anxiety disorders to alienate others and struggle to complete daily tasks due to their anxiety. In this way, it can become disabling.

What are the possible treatment options?

If you feel that the above symptoms may be common experiences for you or someone close to you on a daily basis, it is essential to see a medical professional like a psychiatrist to make a proper diagnosis. Dr Chawane may be able to take note of your symptoms, how long they have been present and how severe they are during your consultation with her. From there she may help plan the best treatment options specifically for you to reduce your experiences of anxiety and enhance your quality of life in general.

Treatment of anxiety and its related disorders may include therapy, medications or a combination of both. Anti-anxiety medications can help relieve the symptoms and help improve the way your brain controls stress, by altering the chemicals in your brain. For some, cognitive behavioural or psychotherapy may also be aimed at helping the patient identify and recognise the triggers that cause anxiety symptoms, and manage their power these triggers have over the individual. Once patents know their triggers, they can manage their anxiety better in those situations and overcome fears. Alongside Dr Chawane and her multidisciplinary team consisting of a clinical and counselling psychologist, occupational therapist and social workers, she can help you get the help you need to enhance your mental and emotional wellbeing.