What is it?

Anxiety is a clinical term used to describe emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behaviour such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination. It is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events, such as the feeling of imminent death. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat, whereas anxiety involves the expectation of future threat. It is a feeling of uneasiness and worry, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue and problems in concentration.

Anxiety can be appropriate, but when experienced regularly the individual may suffer from a disorder. People facing such may withdraw from situations which have provoked anxiousness in the past. There are variable types of anxiety. Existential anxiety can occur when a person faces angst, an existential crisis, or nihilistic feelings. People can also face symptoms that arise from mathematical, somatic, stage fright, or testing situations. Social or stranger anxiety are are caused when people are apprehensive around strangers or other people in general.

Anxiety has been linked with physical symptoms and other abnormal medical issues and can heighten other mental-health illnesses such as OCD and panic disorder. The first step in the management of a person with asymptoms involves evaluating the possible presence of an underlying medical cause, whose recognition is essential in order to decide the correct treatment. Symptoms may mask an organic disease or appear associated with or as a result of a medical disorder. Anxiety can be either a short-term “state” or a long-term “trait”. Whereas trait anxiety represents worrying about future events, anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by symptomatic feelings.

What causes it?

Disorders are partly genetic but may also be due to drug use, including alcohol, caffeine, and benzodiazepines (which are often prescribed to treat anxiety), as well as withdrawal from drugs of abuse. They often occur with other mental disorders, particularly bipolar disorder, eating disorders, major depressive disorder, or certain personality disorders.

What is the treatment?

Common treatment options include lifestyle changes, medication (prescribed by medical doctor), and therapy. Metacognitive therapy seeks to diminish anxiety through reducing worry, which is seen as a consequence of metacognitive beliefs.