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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is that feeling of fear, worry or nervousness you experience when you’re about to do something challenging or take a life changing decision.

Everybody experiences anxiety, it is a completely normal experience.

If you’re feeling anxious frequently, and it’s getting in the way of your sleep or your daily life, you’re experiencing severe anxiety.

Severe anxiety is very real and it might affect you physically if it prevails over a long period of time. Not to worry, through expert intervention your anxiety can be managed well.

Types of anxiety

Understanding what type of anxiety you’re experiencing is the first step to recovering. You may also be experiencing from more than one type of anxiety.

Let’s look at the types of anxiety so that you can identify which one you might be going through:


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is the most common form of anxiety. It is an extreme, intense and absurd worry usually associated with everyday life.

People with GAD overly anticipate disaster about everyday things such as money, friendship, health issues, work and life.

The physical effects of GAD include fatigue, nausea, headaches, muscle tensions, restlessness, insomnia and sweating.


Panic Disorder

If you’re experiencing recurring panic attacks, it might be possible that you are having a Panic Disorder.

Panic Disorder is also accompanied by behavioral changes such as restlessness. This happens because one is overly anticipating the next panic attack.

The physical effects of Panic Disorder include rapid heartbeat, perspiration, dizziness, hyperventilation, chest pains and crying.


Social Phobia

You might have felt stage fear or shyness at least once in your life. It is absolutely normal. But if you’re scared of being around people altogether, you might be experiencing Social Phobia.

Social Phobia is an intense fear of being in a social situation and constantly thinking of being judged by other people.

If you are afraid of dating, parties, meetings and hanging out with a group of people, you might be experiencing Social Phobia.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you have experienced something unsettling in the past, physically or emotionally and keep revisiting that memory, you might be going through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD occurs after a traumatic life event and sometimes lasts for years after the event. It is best advised to seek professional help if you think you a effected by PTSD.

The physical effects of PTSD include severe insomnia and constant fatigue.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

If you tend to have certain thoughts or tend to do certain routines repeatedly and are unable to control them, you might be experiencing OCD.

Eating only out of a particular plate maybe mild OCD, but refraining from eating if that plate is not available is acute OCD.

Examples of very severe cases of OCD are – washing of hands every 10 minutes and constantly checking if the door is locked. Basically an obsession that affects daily life.

Causes of anxiety

Different types of anxiety have different symptoms. However, anxiety in general has certain distinct symptoms that can be identified easily.

Let us help you understand the symptoms and causes of anxiety better:

External causes
Accidents Physical abuse
Sexual harassment War experiences
Internal causes
Excessive worry Unnecessary obsessions

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

Emotional Symptoms

Emotional Symptoms



Overwhelming Worry

Acute Panic

Constant nervousness

Physical Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

Hot/Cold sweats

Heart palpitations


Shortness of breath

Muscle pains

Diagnosis and treatment

Getting the right kind of guidance for your anxiety is important. Sometimes wrong medication and counselling may lead to some other types of illness.


Everybody worries or gets the odd case of butterflies in the stomach. But are you missing out on opportunities and happiness because of fears and worries? Is anxiety interfering with your life? While moderate anxiety can be limiting, severe anxiety can be crippling. Get a better perspective of your anxiety levels with this test.

Take the quiz

DISCLAIMER: This test is merely indicative of the symptoms of anxiety, and to know if further assessment is warranted. It is by no means a professional diagnosis – for that, you would need to see an appropriately qualified doctor or mental health professional - which you could locate here.

  • How can I help myself?
  • How can I help someone experiencing anxiety?
  • Conditions that co-exist with anxiety

Admitting that you are experiencing anxiety is the first step to a speedy recovery. You have come to the right place, you can find all the help you need right here.

If you know what kind of anxiety you are experiencing, you could talk to a friend or a family member about it.

In case your anxiety is so severe that friends and family members cannot help, you can see a mental health specialist.

Click here to find a mental health specialist in your locality.

If you do not know what type of anxiety you’re experiencing, here’s an informative quiz that will help you.

You might feel confused, helpless or frustrated when communicating with someone experiencing anxiety.

Let this person know that they can talk to you about it openly, without any fear of judgment.


Don’t get frustrated. Remember, anxiety disorders are not just thought related - they're chemical as well.

Spend as much time with them as possible.


Avoid bringing up the topic of the anxiety often.

Tell them to call you anytime, anywhere.


Don’t let anxiety affect you as well.

Be forgiving.


Expecting massive and immediate turnarounds isn’t right. Controlling anxiety does take time.

Involve them in exciting activities and try to be outdoors.


Steer clear from making the person feel guilty. You have to remember that those with anxiety often struggle to get out of their own head.

Be proud of them when they improve.


Anxiety can be overcome. So don’t give up hope. .

Anxiety when left unattended for a long time, can fester into several co-existing conditions. These can then affect the person more negatively making overcoming it more complex. Know the conditions that can and might co-exist with anxiety:

Anxiety and depression frequently coexist. At least 85% of people with major depression also have significant anxiety symptoms.


The most frequent symptoms are worry, inner tension or mental pain.

About 33% of people with depression also experience panic attacks during their depressive episodes.


With Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), the percentage of people who have major depression is even higher.


There are many factors that trigger anxiety. It could be genetical, psychological or past traumatic experiences.

If you are excessively worried about everyday situations and challenges, you may be suffering from anxiety disorder. You can take a simple quiz to find out what kind of disorder you might have.

Anxiety disorder can be treated through medication, counselling and sometimes a combination of both. You don’t have to be admitted to a hospital. However, you might have to go for psychotherapy sessions and continue on the medication prescribed to you until you get better.

  • Observe and write down any behavior change or symptoms you think you are experiencing
  • If you are on any antidepressants, take them along with you
  • Make sure to ask your mental health specialist all the questions you have in mind
  • Take a friend or family member along with you
  • Be expressive and tell your mental health specialist exactly what you feel

Unlike a physical illness, anxiety disorder cannot be treated completely by your therapist alone. With their help you need to work towards getting better. Stick to the medication your therapist provides and don’t skip a psychotherapy session even if you are feeling well, unless you are advised otherwise.

You can consult a specialist in psychology, a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist, depending on your condition. Your general physician would not be able to help you, but can suggest an expert. You can also find a therapist here.

There are plenty of books and websites from where you can get to know about anxiety. Take a look at our Resources section below to know more.

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The Live Love Laugh Foundation ("TLLLF") is not in the business of providing counselling services and does not own, operate or control the helpline numbers listed on the website. The helpline numbers are listed for referral purposes only, and TLLLF does not make any recommendations or guarantees regarding the quality of response and medical advice you might receive from any of the helplines. TLLLF does not endorse these helplines and makes no representations, warranties or guarantees as to, and assumes no responsibility for, the services provided by these entities. TLLLF disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of calls made to these helpline numbers.