While everyone has anxiety at one point or the other in their lives, and a certain amount of anxiety is normal, anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive anxiety or worry and tension that pervade the normal functioning of the individual. Because every individual would have different personality styles, coping mechanisms, and life experiences, they might experience different levels of anxiety.
Mild anxiety is often described as sub-clinical or clinically non-significant. Symptoms might include social shyness and might affect emotional, social and professional functioning. Often experienced in childhood first, mild anxiety can lead to maladaptive coping strategies or more severe mental conditions.
People with moderate levels of anxiety have more frequent or persistent symptoms than those with mild anxiety, but still have better daily functioning than someone with severe anxiety or panic disorder. Although moderate anxiety symptoms are disruptive, those with moderate anxiety may have success in managing their anxiety with the help of a doctor or self-help strategies.
Those with severe anxiety often experience all the symptoms that meet the criteria for a diagnosis. They score higher on scales of distress, with these symptoms frequently occurring with major depression. Symptoms of severe anxiety are frequent and persistent and may include increased heart rate, feelings of panic and social withdrawal.
Anxiety can last anywhere between hours, to days, to weeks, all depending on their individual and the severity of symptoms. Mild anxiety usually does not require intervention, while moderate to severe anxiety might require intervention. The individual’s environment, personality style, and resources available determine how long anxiety could last.
Like other illnesses and mental health disorders, if left untreated, anxiety can escalate and lead to a drastic reduction in functioning. Anxiety will not go away if ignored, much like any other illness.
If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of anxiety, there are certain tips that you can use to help reduce your symptoms and anxiety. Some of these techniques might be helpful and sufficient for coping with mild anxiety. However, if you feel you have severe anxiety, it is always better to seek help from an expert.