A consultant psychiatrist, Maymunah Kadiri, said on Friday that one in every ten people suffer anxiety at one point in their lifetime.
Ms. Kadiri said in an interview in Lagos that anxiety is a very common public health problem.
The disorder, according to her, can affect productivity and have negative impact on the society at large. She listed the symptoms of the disorder to include feeling worried all the time, tiredness, being irritable, sleeping badly and lack of concentration. Others are palpitation, which is racing heartbeat, sweating, muscle tension and pains, shaking, breathing heavily, dizziness, faintness, indigestion and diarrhoea.
“We know that anxiety is highly tied to performance and productivity. So, you can imagine somebody that is in an anxiety state all the time; productivity is always low.
“Of course, to the person, it becomes almost like a life threatening thing; the quality of life drops; then, to the immediate family members it is a burden because the person is always complaining,” she said.
The consultant said that anxiety was the normal human feeling of fear that everyone experienced when faced with threatening or difficult situations.
She said, however, that if the feelings of anxiety were too strong, they could stop one from doing the things they wanted to do.
Ms. Kadiri said that the disorder could be caused by genetic predisposition, circumstances such as disasters, and other life experiences.
“Some of us tend to be born more anxious than others and the research suggests that these problems can be inherited through our genes.
“However, even, someone who is not naturally anxious can get anxious under pressure.
“When the problem disappears, so does the anxiety. But, however, some circumstances are so threatening like somebody that has gone through a road traffic accident, a train crash,” she said.
Ms. Kadiri said some of these natural disasters anxiety goes on long after the event and is called post-traumatic stress disorder.
Most of us take coffee in the workplace and coffee contains caffeine; caffeine is one of those drugs that can actually induce anxiety; then life experiences generally,” she said.
Ms. Kadiri said that the management of the disorder could be done by practising relaxation techniques and talking it through with family members and psychotherapists.
She said that medications could be addictive and urged people to take medications only on prescriptions given by the doctors.
“The good thing is that help is readily available and so, if you know the disorder is becoming chronic, seek help early, because it helps you to get better in time,” she said.