The inability to handle stress and anxiety is what leads to anxiety disorders, said Keshava Pai, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Kasturba Medical College Hospital, Attavar.

He was speaking at a workshop on ‘Neurological disorders — causes and underlying mechanisms — current status and research trends', organised by the postgraduate Department of Biotechnology, St. Aloysius College, here on Wednesday.

Anxiety disorders could take various forms such as panic attack, social anxiety, generalised anxiety and phobia.

Panic or anxiety attacks might be caused by exaggerated concern about relationships or finances.

Symptoms

Its symptoms included rapid heartbeat, palpitations, sweating, shaking, choking sensation or lump in the throat, nausea, dizziness or unsteadiness and fear of losing control, he said.

Persons with general anxiety disorder worry excessively over trivial everyday situations. Panic attacks could be addressed by controlling thoughts that might lead to anxiety and replacing them with rational ones. Such people should avoid thinking about the things that always go wrong in a particular situation and try to focus on a hobby or exercise that could capture a person's complete attention, Prof. Pai said.

Depression

Quoting studies by the World Health Organisation, Prof. Pai said that depression was the third most common illness in the world after infectious diseases and heart problems

If symptoms such as feeling sad, lack or excess of sleep or appetite, irritability, inability to concentrate, lack of energy, decreased pleasure in activities the person enjoyed previously, thoughts of suicide persist for more than two weeks, it might suggest that the person was clinically depressed.

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