Anxiety Disorder

Do you have an anxiety disorder?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they make you anxious?
Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

Signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders

Because the anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person. One individual may suffer from intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of mingling at a party. Someone else may struggle with a disabling fear of driving or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Still another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.

But despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.

Emotional symptoms of anxiety

In addition to the primary symptoms of irrational and excessive fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
Feelings of apprehension or dread
Trouble concentrating
Feeling tense and jumpy
Anticipating the worst
Irritability
Restlessness
Watching for signs of danger
Feeling like your mind’s gone blank

Physical symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the body’s fight-or-flight response, anxiety involves a wide range of physical symptoms. Because of the numerous physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is discovered.

Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:
Pounding heart
Sweating
Stomach upset or dizziness
Frequent urination or diarrhea
Shortness of breath
Tremors and twitches
Muscle tension
Headaches
Fatigue
Insomnia

The link between anxiety and depression

Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand in hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions.

Anxiety attacks and their symptoms

Anxiety attacks, known as panic attacks in mental health circles, are episodes of intense panic or fear. Anxiety attacks usually occur suddenly and without warning. Sometimes there’s an obvious trigger— getting stuck in an elevator, for example, or thinking about the big speech you’re giving in a few hours—but in other cases, the attacks come out of the blue.

Anxiety attacks usually peak within ten minutes, and they rarely last more than a half hour. But during that short time, the terror can be so severe that you feel as if you’re about to die or totally lose control. The physical symptoms are themselves so frightening that many people believe they’re having a heart attack. After an anxiety attack is over, you may be worried about having another one, particularly in a public place where help isn’t available or you can’t easily escape.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
Surge of overwhelming panic
Feeling of losing control or going crazy
Heart palpitations or chest pain
Feeling like you’re going to pass out
Trouble breathing or choking sensation
Hyperventilation
Hot flashes or chills
Trembling or shaking
Nausea or stomach cramps
Feeling detached or unreal
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

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