According to the Singapore Association of Mental Health, anxiety disorders can affect as adults as well as children and are caused by a combination of factors. Typically, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, an environmental factor. However, when it becomes overwhelming and interferes with daily activities, it becomes a disorder.
Anxiety disorders include social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, among other conditions.
Those who suffer from GAD often feel fear, panic and anxiety for an extended period of time. They have a general sense that something bad will happen. Panic attacks may arise even without any known triggers.
The association has found that these are some reasons 20-somethings might experience GAD:
1. Societal pressure
They have to cope with pressures and expectations (both self and external), be it from school, friends, work or self-image.
They feel a strong need to be accepted into a social circle. There is a need to “fit in” in order to be accepted. Having a social life is important but with the influence of social media, people can have many friends but yet feel alone and lonely.
3. Insufficient downtime
They enjoy less “me time” and rest due to multiple distractions such as social media.
4. The need to always be connected
There’s an obligation to be “always on.” This is partly because our world is so connected, and more and more people are doing overtime and bringing work home. Now, it’s also a lot easier to receive notifications on work related matters after office hours.
The current economic and PMET unemployment situation might be making it difficult for young adults to enter the job market.
Those suffering from GAD rarely have to be admitted to hospital, but it still needs to be treated by a professional and can often manifest in relation to other mental health issues such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is also related to anxiety. According to the Institute of Mental Health, both medication and psychotherapy are effective in treating GAD. Treatment should be started early to have the best result and can include therapy and antidepressants. Therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be very effective in preventing GAD.
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Lifestyle is also an important factor and people who suffer from GAD should try to avoid high-stress environments. It’s also helpful to learn simple strategies like relaxation techniques and regular exercise to reduce anxiety and maintain emotional well-being.
If you or anyone you know feels down and wants to talk about it, don’t wait. These helplines in Singapore are here to help:
- Mental Health Helpline: 6389 2222
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-221-4444
- Silver Ribbon: 63861928, 67424190, 63853714