Did you know that the National Statistics Office (NSO) ranked mental health illnesses as the third most common form of morbidity for Filipinos? According to MIMS Today, one out of five people in the Philippines suffers from a mental health problem. As of 2017, there are only 700 psychiatrists and about 1,000 psychiatric nurses in the country that currently has a population of 100 million. The same study mentions that 20% of Filipino adults have psychiatric disorders; while about 10-15% of Filipino children (aged 5 to 15) are diagnosed with mental health problems.
It is time to break the stigma regarding mental health in the country, start by educating yourself on the initial symptoms of anxiety disorders which is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world.
What is anxiety?
Having feelings of anxiety is a normal human experience that usually occurs when you’re faced with dangerous situations. Normal anxiety can cause you to feel nervous when you encounter certain phobias like having a fear of heights, speaking in front of crowds, etc. However, having an anxiety disorder is a different story since it causes you to consistently feel these emotions on a regular basis and its symptoms may gradually worsen over time.
An anxiety disorder may be triggered by a variety of external and internal factors like:
- Heredity – if one of your family members has anxiety, then it is likely that you may also have some form of anxiety.
- Recent trauma - certain incidents in your life like the end of a relationship or the death of an important family member can trigger feelings of anxiety.
- Withdrawal – those who are undergoing changes in their medicine intake may also feel anxious.
- Having certain illnesses – it is said that certain medical problems with your endocrine, heart, and respiratory systems can also be a factor.
- Consuming certain substances – alcohol, caffeine, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs can also cause you to feel anxious.
Kinds of anxiety
You will need the help of a medical professional to properly diagnose your condition. There are several types of anxiety according to Mayo Clinic:
- Panic disorder – repeated, sudden episodes of intense anxiety which result in palpitations and shortness of breath.
- Selective mutism – this happens when children refuse to speak in social situations (such as in school) which can eventually affect their performance.
- Agoraphobia – fear of certain situations which can cause you to feel embarrassed.
- General anxiety disorder (GAD) – persistent feelings of worry, even when faced with ordinary situations. Usually found in people with existing mental conditions like depression.
- Separation anxiety – childhood disorder which can be traced to separation from parents or those who have parental roles.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder – withdrawal from using illicit substances or misusing certain medications can lead to intense panic.
If you feel that you are suffering from a mental condition, seek support from your family and trusted friends. Book a session with a psychiatrist who may be able to guide you through your recovery process. Never take any form of medication without the proper prescription of a health professional. There are also hotlines where you can seek out support from professionals or if you simply need someone to talk to like HOPELINE (02) 8804.4673; (0917) 558.4673 or 2919 for Globe subscribers.