Ever wondered why you were trembling before your exam, or why your palms got sweaty before that job interview? These anxious feelings are a natural way for the body to prepare itself for an important event. You would have also noticed how you started to calm down once the event was underway; you started to breathe easier and your heart stopped thumping. Such anxiety actually helps us perform better as it makes us more alert. However, some people experience anxiety or anxiety attacks for no apparent reason. If you find it hard to control your worries and if these constant feelings of anxiety affect your ability to go about your daily activities, then it might be a case of an anxiety disorder. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: There are many types of anxiety disorders but their most common symptoms are increased heart rate and heavy breathing, increased muscle tension, tightening sensation in the chest, unsubstantiated and growing worries, restlessness, obsessing over needless things leading to compulsive behavior. Anxiety disorder may manifest in episodes like:-

i). Worrying constantly and excessively for no apparent reason makes it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities.

ii). Fearing any social or performance-related situations, in which you may be exposed to possible scrutiny by others. You fear that you will act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing.

iii). Irrational fear of an object or place, such as fear of entering an elevator believing that an escape might be not possible.

iv).  Repeated flashbacks, dreams, and subsequent worry following exposure to an extremely traumatic event in the past.

v).  Repeated panic attacks along with nervous feelings like “I am going to die’’ for no apparent reason, and the constant fear of having another attack.

Everyone experiences anxiety, so it is difficult to say when it can be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. If your feelings of worry and dread have a disabling effect on you over a period of time, you should seek advice from a mental health professional.