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Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, nervousness, or panic. It is a normal human feeling in response to stressful situations. 

It often affects your whole body, for example:
-    Dry mouth
-    Trembling
-    Feeling faint
-    Stomach cramps
-    Sweating
-    Wobbly legs
-    Feeling hot

We can probably all remember feeling anxious at least once. For example, before an exam or an interview. This is normal. 

Sometimes anxiety can help us perform better in stressful situations.

When does anxiety become a problem?

Anxiety becomes a problem if:

  • It comes too often - for example, feeling anxious every day

  • It comes even when you should feel safe - for example, visiting your friends outside your house

  • It is too strong - for example, feeling so scared you can't complete an examination


There are some specific types of anxiety problems:

  • Generalized anxiety - constant worry, restlessness, difficulty concentrating with no apparent trigger

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder - reliving past traumatic events through nightmares and flashbacks

  • Phobia - overwhelming fear of objects or situations. This could be a fear of snakes, or a fear of going outside (agoraphobia)

  • Panic - experiencing repeated episodes of intense fear with a severe physical reaction (e.g. fast heart rate, trembling) called "panic attacks"

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder - excessive thoughts ("obsessions") such as, "I am dirty, leading to repetitive actions ("compulsions"), such as handwashing


What can you do about anxiety?

There are some techniques that can make you feel calm, like progressive muscle relaxation. You might need to practice to get better at using these.


What if this doesn't work?

If you are still suffering, you should talk to a health professional. They may be able to recommend:

  • Psychological treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy

  • Medication

Support for mental health challenges including anxiety is available in Uganda. Please find more information about where to get help here.

Mental health challenges are treatable. Treatment is free in Uganda.

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