When people around us come to know that we are ‘Psychologists’ they ask many questions, relating their issues. One guy asked about ‘What is anxiety disorder and panic attack’. He described his condition to me and for him and for others I felt the need to write this article.

sohailahmadsAnxiety is a normal human emotion and reaction to stress that every one experiences at times. Many people feel anxious or nervous, when faced with the problem at work, before taking a test or making an important decision. 

Anxiety Disorder however is different. They can cause such distress that it interferes with the person’s ability to lead a normal life. An AD is a serious mental illness. 

Types of AD

  • Panic Disorder (PD): Feelings of terror strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Panic attack includes sweating, chest pain, palpitations (irregular heartbeats) and a feeling of chocking (He or she is having a heart attack or going crazy).  
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD): Thoughts or fears that cause people to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions and the rituals are compulsions. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his/her hands. 
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): It is a condition that can develop following traumatic and/or terrifying event such as a sexual or physical assault, death of loved one or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often tend to be emotionally numb.
  • Social anxiety Disorder(SAD) :   Called social phobia involves over whelming worry and self consciousness about every day social situations.
  • Specific Phobias:  Intense fear of a specific object or situations such as snakes , heights or flying
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) : This involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is  little or nothing to provoke the anxiety


  • Nightmares  
  • Problem sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Repeated hand washing
  • Cold or sweaty hands/feet
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands/fee
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension

Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term that covers several different forms of a type of common psychiatric disorder charter zed by excessive worrying, rumination, uneasiness, apprehension and fear about future uncertainties either based on real or imagined events, which may affect both physical and psychological health. 

Recent surveys have found that as many as 30 percent of Pakistanis and 2.4 million Americans may be affected by the anxiety disorder. The term anxiety covers four aspects of experiences an individual may have

  • Metal apprehension
  • Physical tension
  • Physical symptoms
  • Dissociative anxiety

Each type of anxiety disorder requires different treatment

Treatment: Taking the first step is recognizing that something is not right and the second step is getting help. Your primary doctor can evaluate and likely refer you to a trained Psychiatrist


  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy can benefit so put effort into it.
  • Make lifestyle changes (Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation and yoga can help, eating well, getting enough sleep)
  • Get a second opinion : If you have any doubts about your care, it’s smart to check in with another expert. 
  • Focus on small and manageable steps in the right direction.
  • Make a good combination with your Psychologist/Psychiatrist. You need to trust one another and work as a team.