Anxiety is characterized by a sensation of unease, worry, or nervousness, typically in response to a specific upcoming event or circumstance whose outcome is unknown. Every person will, at some point or another, experience moments of anxiety. Anxiety that impairs one’s functioning is characterized by an intense or extreme feeling of apprehension or fear about everyday life or activities. This state of extreme anxiety and worry is also sometimes referred to as “apprehensive expectation” by some people. An individual who suffers from this kind of anxiety may find it challenging to function normally.

An individual who suffers from anxiety that is both overpowering and continuous may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. These types of disorders are extremely treatable despite their prevalence. This article describes the signs and symptoms of crippling anxiety, as well as the underlying causes.

Early Signs

The signs and symptoms of anxiety can differ from one person to the next, but they typically cluster into the three categories listed below.

  • Manifestations in the body
  • Patterns of thought
  • Muscle pain
  • Hurriedly or with great haste heart
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors and/or twitching of the muscles
  • Dripping sweat and having trouble breathing
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal distress headaches diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Exhaustion
  • Urinary urges that come on frequently


  • Worrying that does not stop
  • Fear or apprehension in one’s heart and mind
  • Believing that the worst-case scenario is likely to occur
  • Having an “all or nothing” frame of mind


  • Being vigilant in the face of potential risk
  • Avoiding events or scenarios that could potentially cause a fear feeling
  • Easily irritated or frustrated when in situations that could potentially cause fear
  • Withdrawing from social interaction
  • In search of reassurance
  • Questioning one’s motivations behind compulsive behaviors such as repetitively washing one’s hands


In South Africa, adults are affected by anxiety disorders at a rate of 40 million per year, making it the most prevalent form of mental illness there. This number represents 18.1% of the total population in South Africa.

Research suggests that anxiety disorders can be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This theory is supported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which states that the findings of these studies support the hypothesis. There is proof that anxiety disorders can be passed down from generation to generation in families. Because of this, having a relative who suffers from an anxiety disorder may put a person at a higher risk for developing an anxiety disorder.

Not only can anxiety disorders be brought on by external factors, but also by traumatic or stressful experiences in one’s life. Some examples of traumatic events include the death of a loved one, undergoing abuse or violence, or living with a chronic health condition. The unique chemistry of each person’s brain as well as their personality is also considered to be risk factor.

Treatment Options

The following is a list of potential treatments that may be of assistance in reducing the effects of debilitating anxiety.


There are many different types of treatments available to help with the management of anxiety. The treatment that an individual receives for their anxiety may vary, depending not only on the type of anxiety they suffer from but also on their individual preferences. The following are some examples:

CBT Stands for Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that aims to assist patients in recognizing and altering destructive patterns of thinking and behavior that may contribute to or exacerbate their anxiety. The CBT approach is a pragmatic one that focuses on problem-solving. It entails learning the skill sets, vocabulary, and approaches to thinking that assist individuals in becoming more empowered to take an active part in their treatment. During cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an individual will collaborate closely with their psychologist to:

  • Find out more about their condition and the things that cause them anxiety.
  • Acquire the knowledge and tools necessary to better manage their anxiety.
  • Carry out the tasks or assignments given to them to practice their newly acquired abilities and strategies.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America believes that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment that is both highly effective and long-lasting. After 12–16 weeks of continuous practice, most people start to experience the advantages of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Therapeutic Exposure

The goal of exposure therapy is to help patients overcome their fears by exposing them, safely and gradually, to the situations that cause them the most anxiety. The objective is to assist people so that they can develop constructive coping methods that will aid in lowering their fear response. The following are some of the anxiety disorders that may benefit from exposure therapy:

  • A combination of obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety (OCD)
  • Phobias
  • Therapy based on acceptance and commitment (ACT)

Acknowledgment and commitment therapy, also known as ACT, is a form of psychotherapy that teaches clients various techniques, such as mindfulness and acceptance, to assist them in better coping with unfavorable thoughts, sensory experiences, or feelings. People can benefit from the following types of therapy:

  • Have a better handle on how they react when confronted with unsettling emotions
  • Acquire the habit of not avoiding situations that could potentially be upsetting or stressful.
  • Acknowledge and respect their thoughts and feelings.
  • Experience confidence in their morals and principles.
  • Commit to changing your behaviors.
  • DBT stands for dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

The methods of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are combined with Eastern meditation practices in the therapy known as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which focuses on both acceptance and change as its primary goals. The following are some of the skills that can be learned through DBT, which is taught through a combined effect of group therapy, individual counseling, and additional availability to a person’s mental health professional:

  • Ability to practice mindfulness
  • Tolerance
  • Regulation of emotions
  • Along with interpersonal skills


People who suffer from crippling anxiety should make it a priority to get help. Although the ADAA states that anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9% of people who have anxiety disorders seek treatment for their condition.

Anxiety can make it difficult for a person to face their fears and talk to a mental health professional about their condition. On the other hand, therapy is a treatment that is both highly effective and long-lasting, and it helps individuals to develop strategies for controlling their anxiety. In between 12 and 16 weeks, a lot of people could see improvements. In addition, people can combine psychotherapy with medical treatment to better manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Anyone who is struggling to function as a result of their anxiety should arrange a visit with a mental health provider or their primary care physician as soon as possible. They will be capable of assisting a person manage their anxiety disorder by providing them with tools, such as methods for deep breathing and tranquility, techniques to question negative thinking, and medications.

Individuals may need to experiment with a variety of treatments, therapists, and medications before they find one that works for them. Before discontinuing any medication, swapping to a different medication, or making any changes to the dosage of any medication, a person must always speak with their doctor.


Anxiety that interferes with a person’s ability to function normally is characterized by an irrational fear or sense of dread regarding ordinary activities or circumstances. This particular form of anxiety can make it difficult for a person to go about their daily activities.

Physical, psychological, and cognitive symptoms are all possible manifestations of anxiety. Anyone who struggles with crippling anxiety should seek the assistance of a trained professional. Anxiety disorders are easily treatable if the appropriate assistance is sought.

The kind of anxiety that a person is dealing with, in addition to their individual preferences, will both play a role in determining the treatment that person receives. Alternative treatments like meditation and mindfulness can also be an option, in addition to traditional treatments like talk therapy and medication. A person can consult with their primary care physician regarding the various treatment options that are open to them.