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WHAT IS ANXIETY DISORDER?

There are many forms of anxiety disorders.

But the overarching feature, as its name suggests, is overwhelming anxiety, said Dr Thomas Lee, a psychiatrist in private practice.

"Patients find that they just can't hold back the anxiety and things get too overwhelming for them. Most of the time, they have this worry about something.

"Those suffering from social anxiety disorder may feel restless and have sleep disturbances. They feel muscle tension in the body and get irritable," he said.

Having an anxiety disorder puts one at risk of getting other psychiatric conditions, particularly mood disorders like depression, psychiatrist Adrian Wang said.

DETERMINE CAUSE

It is important to first ascertain if the anxiety is indeed a result of a disorder, Dr Wang said.

"Many times, anxiety could be normal in situations like a divorce or being sacked from a job.

"In a nutshell, if the anxiety drags on for weeks and starts affecting your life, it's a disorder," he said.

While medication can help keep anxiety disorders under control, Dr Lee suggested therapy to complement the treatment.

"Therapy helps (the patient) learn ways to control their anxiety, maybe through relaxation or breathing, as well as to identify what triggers it," he explained.