Anxiety is a common reaction to life events like taking a final exam or speaking in front of a crowd, but when it becomes really uncomfortable and makes day-to-day life hard to live, then it’s a problem or may even be a disorder.
Anxiety, or extreme apprehension and worry, is a normal reaction to stressful situations. In some cases, however, worry becomes excessive or chronic and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations.
Anxiety is typified by exaggerated worries and expectations of negative outcomes in unknown situations, and such concerns are often accompanied by physical symptoms. These include muscle tension, headaches, stomach cramps, and frequent urination
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, anxiety disorders as a group are the most common mental disorders and can wreak havoc on quality of life, causing significant distress and dysfunction, with increased risk for addiction, suicide, health issues, poor social functioning and suicidality. Anxiety is also the most common problem people seek help for with counselling.
Anxiety problems show up in various forms. Some people suffer with chronic, free-floating worry others fear certain situations (e.g. travelling over a bridge) or objects (e.g. insects), or dread being in social situations where they feel that they are being constantly evaluated. For others, anxiety relates mainly to the recollections of past trauma, while others may suffer from debilitating panic attacks, marked by symptoms such as racing heart, breathing difficulties, sweating, trembling, and dizziness.
Untreated or poorly managed, excess anxiety can hinder severely one’s quality of life. Fortunately, anxiety problems are the most successfully treated of all mental health concerns with counseling (sometimes in combination with anti-anxiety medications).