Patient Care

Anxiety Disorders

What are Anxiety Disorders?

Feeling anxious is common, and anxiety is normal when facing stressful events. However, when anxiety becomes persistent, overwhelming, and irrational, it may interfere with daily activities like performance at work and relationships. When anxiety becomes excessive, one may develop an anxiety disorder.

There are different types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Panic disorders where one experiences recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks are a sudden surge of intense fear/ discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes.
  • Agoraphobia where significant fears/ anxieties about the following situations (lasting for 6 months or more) because of thoughts about the following:
    • Being in enclosed place
    • Being in open spaces
    • Being outside of the home alone
    • Using public transportation
    • Standing in line or being in a crowd
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events/ activities that is constant, and lasts for at least 6 months. People with GAD find it difficult to control their worry.
What are the signs & symptoms of Anxiety Disorder?

General symptoms of anxiety disorder include

  • Chest pain/discomfort
  • Cold, numb/tingly hands and feet
  • Difficulties remaining calm and staying still
  • Dizziness
  • Fear, panic, and feelings of uneasiness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

Additional symptoms of panic disorder include:

  • Fear of losing control and/or dying
  • Maladaptive change in behaviour to avoid having panic attacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Persistent concern worry about future panic attacks and their consequences

Additional symptoms of agoraphobia include:

  • Fear/anxiety that is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the agoraphobic situation

Additional symptoms of GAD include:

  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Sleep disturbance
What are the treatment options for Anxiety Disorders?
  • Medications to reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy to learn relaxation techniques that can help to reduce anxiety
  • Exposure therapy to gradually be exposed to the fear of attacks and avoidance of situations, and help individuals learn to “ride out” the distress until the anxiety passes
Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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