HYDERABAD -  Anxiety disorders, the most prevalent mental disorders, are usually chronic and lead to significant functional and social impairment.

The disorders were a serious mental illness and fear and worry were constant and overwhelming in patients suffering from them.

Talking to APP here on Sunday Consultant Neuro and Spinal surgeon and Assistant Professor Department of Neurology Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Dr.Riaz Ahmed Raja said that it was also gradually understood that the depression and anxiety disorders more commonly co-occur in any patient rather than existing as separate entities.

He said that the patients start off with an anxiety disorder and develop depression over time along with persistent anxiety symptoms.

He informed that anxiety and depressive disorders were three to four times more commonly found in diabetic patients.

About the common anxiety disorder, he said that the condition began in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, however, it could also be induced by a triggering event, and it affects women slightly more than men.

About twenty two percent coronary heart diseases were caused by the depressive side effect of anxiety disorder, he informed.

Dr Raja said that there were many types of anxiety disorders that include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome, social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

He spelt out that anxiety was a normal human emotion that everyone experiences it at times and many people feel anxious or nervous, when faced with a problem at work, or before taking a test or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different as they could cause such distress which interferes with a person’s ability to live a normal life. About the generalized anxiety disorder, he said that disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there was little or nothing to provoke the anxiety. He said that Anxiety predates depression in about 70 percent of all cases.

He said that anxiety disorder had a high prevalence but are usually under diagnosed.

Pointing out the major symptoms of the anxiety disorder, Dr Raja said that symptoms vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder, but general symptoms include feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness, uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts, repeated thoughts, ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing, problems in sleeping or insomnia, cold or sweaty hands and feet, shortness of breath, palpitations, muscle tension and dizziness, etc.

About the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder, the doctor informed that if any of the aforesaid symptoms were found in a patient that a doctor would begin an evaluation by asking the patient questions about their medical history and a physical examination would also be performed. Although, there were no laboratory tests to specifically diagnose the condition.

He informed that as scientists continued their research on mental illnesses, it was becoming clearer that many of those disorders were caused by a combination of factors, which include changes in the brain and environmental stresses.

He lamented the fact that most countries in the developing world spent less than one percent of their total health budget on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the mental and behavioral disorders.