Rate at which anxiety disorders occur
A study conducted by Lancet in 2017 estimated that almost 197 million people had mental health disorders in India. Depression was the most common disorder affecting 45.9 million people followed by Anxiety impacting 44.9 million (3.3% of India’s population). It also states that more females seem to be impacted by anxiety as compared to males. The study also found that the prevalence of anxiety was the highest in Kerala followed by Manipur, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
According to the data published by the World Health Organization in 2017, it was estimated that almost 38 million people in India suffer from anxiety disorders making it the second most common disorder after depression.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on global mental health with WHO estimating a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression during the pandemic at a global level. Similar trends were observed in India. A Lancet study in 2021 reported a 35% rise in anxiety disorders in India during the pandemic. The study also found that women and younger people were highly impacted by anxiety and depression as compared to men and senior citizens.
What signs of anxiousness are there?
Anxiety’s symptoms can differ depending on its nature. Here are a few typical illustrations:
- Worrying excessively: Devoting an excessive amount of time to contemplating “what could happen,” particularly in relation to routine tasks. People who worry excessively frequently anticipate the worst in events.
- Symptoms that are physically uncomfortable: such as a “lump in throat” sensation, dry mouth, or an accelerated heartbeat.
- Difficulty falling or keeping asleep: You may experience difficulty falling or staying asleep and wake up feeling lethargic.
- Concentration problems: When you try to concentrate, your mind wanders.
- Rumination: Rumination is the process of revisiting an idea, issue, or circumstance over and over again without coming up with a workable solution.
- Panic attacks: You’ve had severe symptoms that may have felt similar to a heart attack, along with an intense, frequently unpredictable feeling.Either independently or in conjunction with a panic episode, chest pain may manifest.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances: The occurrence of symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, stomachaches, and digestive problems without a known physical cause.
Various forms of anxiety disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive and persistent concern and anxiety that interferes with day-to-day functioning. Anxiety frequently manifests physically as headaches, nausea, and exhaustion or lethargy.
- Severe unease in social situations is known as social anxiety. Social gatherings like parties and situations involving public speaking, interacting with authority individuals, or voicing one’s viewpoint might cause anxiety.
- Selective Mutism: People who suffer from selective mutism find it difficult to communicate in social or professional contexts. Children are more likely than adults to experience it.
- Panic Disorder: Recurring panic attacks and/or other signs of anxiety, like chest pain, tingling hands, or breathing trouble; continual dread that you will experience another.
- Phobias: The fearful avoidance of objects or specific situations (such as heights, public places, etc.).
- Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is the fear or anxiety people have in situations from which there is no “escape.” It might keep people from going out of their house, from being in large groups, or from taking public transportation. Agoraphobia usually arises as a result of one or more panic episodes.
- Anxiety that is directly brought on by the use of specific drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine, or some pharmaceuticals, is known as medication- or substance-induced anxiety.
- Fulfilling certain requirements for an anxiety diagnosis, but not all of them, is Unspecified Anxiety Disorder.
Furthermore, a lot of mental health practitioners treat and think about the following anxiety disorders:
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: A disorder in which a person (usually a youngster) experiences uncontrollable worry at the mere prospect of being parted from their primary caregiver.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is a mental health condition characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts that make a person feel distressed or anxious and/or by repetitive behaviors (like checking and hand washing) that the person feels they must carry out in order to prevent something horrible from happening or to lessen their anxiety.
- The disease known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, arises following exposure to a particularly distressing event. Days, months, or even years after the incident, it may begin. Intense emotional and physical reactions, such as nightmares, flashbacks, an overly sensitive startle response, and avoiding circumstances or thoughts/feelings that trigger memories of the trauma, are common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Ways to deal with anxiety
If you suspect that your anxiety levels are higher than usual, you can take the following actions to help manage your symptoms:
- Therapy: Look for a therapist who can guide you through your anxiety using tried-and-true methods. (See additional advice on choosing an anxiety therapist below.)
- Activities focused on mindfulness: You can manage anxiety as it emerges by becoming skilled at specific mindfulness activities.
- Yoga for anxiety: There are specific yoga positions and classes that are particularly helpful for anxiety.
- Breathing techniques: To calm worries as they emerge, try square breathing.
- Exercise: Research indicates that engaging in aerobic exercise can stop panic attacks from happening again.
- Checkups: Make sure to keep track of all of your medical appointments, especially the yearly wellness checkup with your primary care physician. She or he can assist you in ruling out any medical issues (such as anemia, an overactive thyroid, etc.) that may be causing symptoms that resemble anxiety.
Typical methods for managing anxiety include:
- Therapy based on cognitive behavior (CBT)
- Exposure treatment
- Acceptance and commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Psychosocial Counseling (PCT)
- Desensitization and Reprocessing of Eye Movements (EMDR)
Know the questions to ask prospective therapists
When interviewing possible therapists, it could be useful to ask these questions:
- Which kind of therapy—perhaps any of the aforementioned examples—do you employ to assist clients in controlling their anxiety?
- Have you worked with individuals who have the specific symptoms I have?
Put your personal fit first
Even though it’s a complex aspect, personality fit is essential to your therapeutic success. The significance of this element—often referred to as the “therapeutic alliance”—has been demonstrated by numerous research.
When you first speak with the therapist over the phone, ask yourself:
- Was there a chance that I would get along with this therapist?
- Does their strategy fit my style?
- Does this therapist seem like someone who will listen to me and respect me?
Furthermore, take into account these elements:
- Some therapists are more introspective; they listen to you for the most of the session and make observations about your coping mechanisms and habits.
- Certain therapists take a more hands-on approach, creating weekly schedules and giving assignments to finish in between sessions.
- Some make use of certain methods or resources (such as breathing exercises, guided visualization, tapping, eye movements, exposure exercises, art, and music, etc.).
Some employ a mix of several strategies.
Think about scheduling, location, and cost.
The effectiveness of therapy depends on you. Prior to scheduling a time, frank ask yourself:
- Can I afford the expenses for this session? The location, the type of therapist, and whether insurance is being used.
- Can I promise to show up to sessions on a regular basis? Don’t forget to factor in travel time and other obligations while creating your schedule.
- Do the times the therapists are accessible work for me? If your schedule is otherwise constrained, some therapists provide appointments on the weekends and evenings.