What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural human response to stress or perceived threats. It is a complex emotional state characterized by feelings of unease, worry, and fear. While it is normal to experience occasional anxiety in response to challenging situations, anxiety becomes problematic when it becomes excessive, persistent, and interferes with daily functioning.
Understanding the nature of anxiety involves recognizing that it is a multi-faceted phenomenon that affects individuals both mentally and physically. On a cognitive level, anxiety involves excessive worry, rumination, and intrusive thoughts that can be difficult to control. Emotionally, anxiety is often accompanied by feelings of restlessness, irritability, and a heightened sense of vulnerability. Physically, anxiety can manifest as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, and even physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches.
It is a highly personalized experience, with individuals experiencing varying degrees of intensity and specific triggers. It can arise from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. We can better understand the disorder when we recognise its diverse manifestations, appreciate its impact on individuals’ lives, and foster empathy and support for those who experience it.
How prevalent is Anxiety in Singapore?
In Singapore, anxiety is a prevalent mental health concern that affects a significant portion of the population. According to studies and surveys, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions experienced by Singaporeans.
A national study conducted in Singapore revealed that the lifetime prevalence of any anxiety disorder was estimated to be around 13.2%. This indicates that approximately one in eight individuals in Singapore may experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Furthermore, specific anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD), were found to have a prevalence rate of approximately 3.6% and 2.5%, respectively.
The high prevalence of anxiety in Singapore highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing this mental health issue. Efforts have been made to increase awareness, improve access to mental health services, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for anxiety disorders. By fostering a supportive environment and providing appropriate resources, individuals in Singapore can receive the necessary support to manage their anxiety and enhance their overall well-being.