What are Anxiety disorders?
People who experience occasional anxiety are normal. However, people with anxiety disorders often have intense and persistent worrying and fear about everyday situations. Often anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror. An attack of panic can happen quickly.
Anxiety and panic are feelings that interfere with daily activities and are difficult to control. They may be out of proportion to the danger involved and can last for a long time. You may avoid places or situations to prevent them. Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years, and continue into adulthood. Adulthood refers to the stage of life when a person is an adult.
Treatment for anxiety can help in whatever form it takes.
Anxiety disorders are a type of mental health disorder that is characterized by excessive fear, worry, and/or nervousness, in addition to debilitating physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty sleeping. Anxiety can be experienced in many forms, from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown, but there are a number of factors that may contribute to their development, including genetics, early life experiences, or traumatic events. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders in order to seek proper treatment and manage symptoms effectively.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems, affecting nearly one in five adults each year. It is characterized by persistent fear and worry, as well as physical symptoms such as racing heart, chest pain, and shortness of breath. People with an anxiety disorder — a group of related mental health conditions — may experience intrusive thoughts or memories, panic attacks, and irrational fears. Additionally, anxiety can lead to a number of physical and psychological issues such as difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, and restlessness.
Symptoms Anxiety disorders
Some common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
Feeling nervous, restless or tense
Panicking because of the feeling that something bad is going to happen
Having an increased heart rate
Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
Feeling weak or tired
I'm having trouble focusing on anything else other than my current worry.
Having trouble sleeping
Having gastrointestinal problems means feeling sick in the stomach.
Having difficulty controlling worry
Sometimes, people feel an urge to avoid things that make them anxious.
There are several types of anxiety disorders.
AgoraphobiaAnxiety disorder is a type of problem in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that could cause you to panic and feel trapped.
Anxiety disorder is a result of a medical condition.Anxiety or panic symptoms can occur when a physical health problem is causing intense anxiety or panic.
Generalized anxiety disorder Worrying about things that don't really matter is a sign of anxiety disorder. This worrying is out of proportion to the actual situation, and it makes it hard to control your feelings. It often occurs along with other anxiety disorders, such as OCD or social anxiety. Depression is a feeling of sadness or gloom.
Panic disorder Panic attacks are episodes of intense anxiety and fear that reach a peak within minutes. You may experience feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations). These attacks may lead to more panic attacks. You should not be worrying about these things happening again or trying to avoid situations in which they've occurred.
Selective mutismSome children have a difficult time speaking in certain situations, such as at school. This can interfere with their academic performance and social interactions.
Separation anxiety disorderSeparation anxiety is a childhood disorder that's excessive for the child's developmental stage and is related to feelings of anxiety when separated from parents or others who have parental roles.
Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)People with social anxiety disorder experience high levels of anxiety and fear in social situations. This can lead to avoidance of social situations and feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being judged or viewed negatively.
Specific phobiasPeople with phobias have a very strong reaction to a specific object or situation, and they often desire to avoid it. This can lead to panic attacks.
Substance-induced anxiety disorderDrug use causes symptoms of intense anxiety or panic. This is because drug misuse can lead to exposure to a toxic substance, or withdrawal from drugs.
Anxiety disorders other than anxiety disorder (specified) and anxiety disorder, unspecified (unspecified)Anxiety disorders that don't quite fit into any other category are called "minor" anxiety disorders. They can be very distressing and disruptive, even if they don't quite fit into the criteria for any other anxiety disorder.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if:
You feel like you're always worrying and it's interfering with your work relationships or other parts of your life.
You find it difficult to control your fear, worry, or anxiety.
If you feel depressed or have trouble with alcohol or drugs, that means you also have anxiety.
You think your anxiety may be related to a physical health problem.
If you have thoughts of harming yourself or engaging in suicidal behavior, seek emergency treatment right away.
If you don't get help for your anxiety, it may get worse over time. Seeing a doctor or mental health provider can help you get better faster.
Causes Anxiety disorders
anxiety disorders are not fully understood. It is possible that life experiences, such as traumatic events, can trigger anxiety in people who are already predisposed to it. In addition, inherited traits may be a factor.
Some people with anxiety may have an underlying health condition. If your doctor suspects that your anxiety is caused by a medical condition, he or she may order tests to look for signs of a problem.
Some medical problems that are linked to anxiety include:
A thyroid disorder such as hyperthyroidism can occur.
Respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, can occur.
Drug misuse or withdrawal
If you are withdrawing from alcohol or anxiety medications, you should stop taking them.
Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome
Some rare tumors produce hormones that help the body fight or flee from danger.
Sometimes anxiety can be a side effect of taking certain medications.
If you have anxiety, there may be a medical reason for it. If you do not have an underlying medical condition, your anxiety may still be due to something else.
You don't have any relatives who have an anxiety disorder.
I don't think you had an anxiety disorder when you were a child.
Anxiety doesn't mean that you have to avoid certain things or situations.
I'm feeling really anxious all of a sudden and it's not related to any life events that I know of.
Risk factors Anxiety disorders
Having any of these things may increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder:
Trauma.Children who have experienced abuse or trauma are at a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder in their lives. Adults who experience a traumatic event can also develop an anxiety disorder.
Stress due to an illness.Having a health condition can cause significant worry about issues such as your treatment and your future.
Stress buildup.An big event or a lot of smaller stressful life situations may trigger anxiety - for example, a death in the family or ongoing worry about finances.
Personality.Some people are more prone to develop anxiety disorders than others are.
Other mental health disorders.People who have other mental health disorders, such as depression, often also have an anxiety disorder.
Having relatives with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
Drugs or alcohol.Anxiety can be caused or worsened by drug or alcohol use, misuse, or withdrawal.
Complications Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders can cause or worsen other conditions such as:
Depression and other mental health disorders are often co-occurring.
Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
Digestive or bowel problems
Headaches and chronic pain
Problems functioning at school or work
Poor quality of life
Prevention Anxiety disorders
There is no one way to know for sure what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder, but you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if you're anxious.
Get help early.It can be harder to treat anxiety if you wait.
Stay active.Take care of yourself by doing things that you enjoy and that make you feel good. Spend time with friends and family members who can help reduce your worries.
Avoid alcohol or drug use.Alcohol and drug addiction can cause or exacerbate anxiety. If you are addicted to any of these substances, quitting can make you anxious. If you can't quit on your own, see a doctor or join a support group to help you.
What defines an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders, while common, are serious mental health conditions that can cause significant distress and disruption in everyday life. These can manifest as feelings of worry and fear, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating. Anxiety disorders are often associated with avoidance behaviors as a means to reduce the discomfort caused by anxious thoughts or feelings. It is estimated that more than 40 million adults in the United States alone suffer from some form of anxiety disorder each year.
Anxiety disorders represent a broad spectrum of psychiatric conditions that are characterized by excessive fear, worry, and other physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. Anxiety disorders are often accompanied by physiological reactions, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, perspiration, trembling, dizziness, nausea, and other physical symptoms. Anxiety can interfere with everyday life and lead to withdrawal from social situations and activities. Common treatments include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.
What is anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a type of mental illness. They involve excessive worry or fear. Anxiety disorders are different from normal anxiety. They can cause problems with daily activities.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders often co-occur with depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
Diagnosis Anxiety disorders
Your primary care provider can check for signs that your anxiety might be related to a physical health condition. If necessary, he or she can treat the underlying medical issue.
If you have severe anxiety, you may need to see a mental health specialist. A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. A psychologist can diagnose anxiety and offer counseling, but other mental health professionals may also be able to diagnose anxiety and provide counseling. Psychotherapy is a process that helps people deal with their problems.
Your mental health provider may use various methods to detect if you have an anxiety disorder. These methods might include questioning you about your symptoms, performing a physical exam, and ordering tests.
Give you a psychological evaluation.Diagnosing an anxiety disorder can be challenging, because it often occurs along with other mental health issues, such as depression or substance abuse. You will need to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and behavior with your doctor to help identify the problem.
Match your symptoms to the criteria in the DSM-5.Doctors use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to diagnose an anxiety disorder.
Treatment Anxiety disorders
There are two main ways to treat anxiety disorders: through psychotherapy and medications. You might find that you respond best to a combination of the two. It may take some time to figure out which treatments work best for you.
Psychotherapy involves talking with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. This can be an effective treatment for anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. It focuses on teaching you how to improve your symptoms and gradually return to activities you've avoided because of anxiety.
Exposure therapy includes gradually encountering the thing or situation that triggers your anxiety so you develop confidence that you can manage the situation and anxiety symptoms.
There are several types of medications that can help you relieve symptoms of anxiety disorders, depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have and whether you also have other mental or physical health issues. For example:
Some antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety disorders.
A medication called buspirone may be prescribed to treat anxiety.
Your doctor may prescribe other types of medications to relieve anxiety symptoms, such as sedatives or beta blockers. These medications are meant for short-term relief and should not be used long term.
Talk with your doctor about the benefits, risks, and possible side effects of medications.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Many people with anxiety disorders need psychotherapy or medications to control their anxiety, but lifestyle changes can also make a difference.Here are some things you can do:
Keep physically active.Try to be physically active every day. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and stay healthy. You can start out slowly and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your activities.
Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.If you can't quit smoking on your own, see your doctor or find a smoking cessation group to help you. These substances can worsen anxiety.
Quit smoking and reduce or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.Caffeine and nicotine can worsen anxiety.
Take stress management and relaxation techniques into account.Some relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can reduce anxiety.
Make sleep a priority.Make sure you are getting enough sleep so that you feel rested. If you are not sleeping well, see your doctor.
Eat healthy.Eating healthy foods, such as focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish, may be linked to reduced anxiety. However, more research is needed to confirm this connection.
Several herbal remedies have been studied as a treatment for anxiety, but more research is needed to understand the risks and benefits. Some herbal and dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way that medications are. You can't always be certain of what ingredients are in these products, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking them. Be sure to get the right supplement and check with your doctor or health care professional to make sure it's safe. Some of these supplements can interact with other medications or cause dangerous side effects.
Before taking herbal remedies or dietary supplements, be sure to talk to your doctor first to make sure they're safe for you and won't interfere with any medications you're currently taking.
Coping and support
If you are experiencing anxiety, here are some things you can do:
Learn about your disorder.Talk to your doctor about your condition. Find out what might be causing it and what treatments may be best for you. involve your family and friends, and ask for their support.
Stick to your treatment plan.Follow the instructions your therapist gives you. Keep therapy appointments and complete any assignments they may give you. If you are taking medication, be consistent in following the prescribed dosage. This can make a big difference in how successful your treatment is.
Take action.Understand what causes your anxiety or stress. Practice the techniques you learned from your mental health provider in these situations.
Keep a journal.Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what is causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
Join an anxiety support group.Remember that you aren't alone.Groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America can offer support and understanding.
Learn time management techniques.You can reduce anxiety by learning how to manage your time and energy wisely.
Socialize.Do not let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities.
Break the cycle.When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or engage in a hobby to distract your mind from your worries.
Preparing for your appointment
You may see your primary care provider first. He or she may refer you to a mental health professional.
What you can do
Before your appointment, make a list of:
Your anxiety symptoms.Keep track of when your symptoms occur and how much they affect your day-to-day activities.
What causes you stress.Tell me about any big changes or stressful events you've experienced recently. Include any traumatic experiences you've had in the past, such as abuse or loss.
Having a family history of mental health problems is not a prerequisite to developing mental health problems.Be aware if any of your parents' grandparents, siblings, or children have struggled with mental health problems.
Any other health problems you have.Be sure to consider both physical and mental health issues when writing a report.
All medications you're taking.Tell me what medications, vitamins, herbs, or other supplements you are taking and the doses.
Questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment.
Some questions to ask your doctor include:
What can make me anxious?
Can there be other reasons why I'm experiencing anxiety besides the ones mentioned in the passage?
Do I need any tests?
Do you think I should see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or any other mental health provider?
What kind of therapy might help me?
Can medication help? If so, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
Can anything be done at home to help with the condition?
Can I borrow any educational materials from you? What websites do you think I should visit to learn more?
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely ask you a few questions, such as: What are your symptoms? Do you have any other medical conditions? Do you have allergies to any substances? What is your family history of illnesses?
What are your symptoms and how severe are they? How does this affect your ability to live a normal life?
Have you ever had a panic attack?
Does anxiety make you avoid certain things or situations?
Is anxiety something that you experience occasionally or on a regular basis?
When did you first start noticing that you have feelings of anxiety?
Can you think of anything that might cause your anxiety to worsen?
What can make you feel better when you have anxiety?
What recent or past traumatic experiences have you had?
What are any physical or mental health conditions that you have?
Do you take any prescription drugs?
Do you drink alcohol or use recreational drugs often?
Do any of your relatives have anxiety or other mental health conditions like depression?
Be prepared for questions, and plan ahead in order to make the most of your time.
Before we begin, let's briefly review what anxiety disorder is. Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another. It's the feeling of fear or apprehension about what's to come. An anxiety disorder is when that feeling doesn't go away and can get worse over time.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. People with anxiety disorders frequently have co-occurring disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that involve excessive amounts of fear, worry, and stress. These disorders can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.