What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, nervousness or panic. It is a normal human feeling in response to stressful situations.
It is often affects your whole body, for example:
- Dry mouth
- Feeling faint
- Stomach cramps
- 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:
Generalised anxiety - constant worry, restlessness, difficulty concentration 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 behavioural therapy
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.