‘Share feelings and problems with someone you trust’

Zulfikar says anxiety can also lead to depression, which is classified as a mood disorder.

WHAT can you do if you are suffering from anxiety and depression?

Talk to someone you trust, especially family members, an expert has advised.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia counselling centre director Dr Zulfikar Ahmad said there was a difference between anxiety and depression, but the former could lead to the latter.

He said anxiety and depression levels varied from person to person, emphasising that it was important for them to share their problems with a third party to get support.

Depression, he explained, was classified as a mood disorder, where feelings of sadness, loss or anger interfered with a person’s routine.

“People experience depression in different ways and it may interfere with their daily work, resulting in lost time and productivity.

“It can also influence relationships and possibly result in some chronic health conditions,” he said.

“Anxiety, on the other hand, is fear and worry about something that results in uncertainty and insecurity.

“It is not unusual to experience anxiety before a big event or important decision,” he added.

Zulfikar said anxiety was actually a very normal response to stressful life events such as attending interviews, facing examinations, getting married or moving to a new place.

However, it could lead to depression and the latter was considered a serious medical condition that could get worse without proper treatment, he warned.

“It is important for an individual or a family member to be alert and aware of people around them, and be on the lookout for signs of anxiety and depression.

“If they see such signs, friends or family can approach and try to help by listening patiently and letting the affected person talk.”

Zulfikar said men, women and children experienced depression differently and it could manifest as aggression, insomnia, loss of interest in activities, sleeping too much, crying and decline in school performance.

Some general symptoms of anxiety include feeling fatigued easily, muscle tension, grinding teeth, racing heart, sleep difficulties and panic.

“All of us need moral support during these trying times, especially the elderly.

“If possible, avoid being alone,” he advised.

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