Anxiety Disorders - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

An occasional bout of anxiety is a normal part of life, but anxiety disorders often cause intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear.

In anxiety disorders, there are often repeated episodes of intense fear, anxiety and terror that reach a crescendo within minutes (panic attacks).

It can be very difficult to control these feelings of anxiety and panic, they can outweigh the actual danger, and they can last for a very long time.

Symptoms may occur during childhood or adolescence but persist into adulthood. In order to prevent these feelings, you may avoid certain places or situations.

Anxiety Disorders – Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Anxiety Disorders - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention
Anxiety Disorders – Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

There are several types of anxiety disorders, some among them are social anxiety disorder (social phobia), generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder.

It is not possible to limit the number of anxiety disorders you can have. Sometimes anxiety is caused by a medical condition.

Treatment is available for all forms of anxiety that you may suffer from.

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    The Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders

    Anxiety Disorders - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention
    Anxiety Disorders – Symptoms, Causes and Prevention
    • Feeling of nervousness, restlessness or tension
    • Having a forebording of impending danger, panic or doom
    • Increased heart rate
    • Hyperventilation/Breathing rapidly
    • Feeling weak or tired
    • Sweating
    • Trembling
    • Concentration problems or difficulty thinking about anything other than the present concern
    • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
    • Insomnia-Having trouble sleeping
    • Having a tendency to avoid anxiety-provoking situations
    • Having difficulty controlling worry

    Types Of Anxiety Disorders

    Anxiety Disorders - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention
    Anxiety Disorders – Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

    There are several types of anxiety disorders:

    Agoraphobia

    The term “agoraphobia” (ah-RUH-foe-beh) refers to fearing and avoiding places or situations that might trigger panic and makes you feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed.

    Anxiety disorder

    The symptoms of intense anxiety or panic caused by a medical condition are classified as anxiety disorder due to a medical condition.

    Generalized anxiety disorder 

    Worrying over activities or events — even ordinary, routine ones — is a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.

    As a result of worry, you are overreacting to circumstances, is hard to control, and affects your physical health. The fear is often accompanied by depression or other anxiety disorders.

    Panic disorder 

    As a result of panic disorder, individuals experience repeated episodes of intense anxiety, fear, or terror (panic attacks), which reach a peak within minutes.

    A panic attack may cause you to worry about it happening again or avoid situations where it has happened.

    These panic attacks may cause you to feel shortness of breath, impending doom, chest pain, or heart palpitations.

    Selective mutism 

    Selective mutism occurs when a child is consistently unable to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they speak in other settings, for instance at home.

    Separation anxiety disorder 

    Anxiety associated with separation from parents or others who have parental roles is referred to as separation anxiety disorder in children.

    This is characterized by an excessive level of anxiety for the child’s developmental level.

    Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) 

    It is characterized by high levels of fear, anxiety, and aversion to social situations due to feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment, and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.

    Specific phobias 

    Phobias cause panic attacks in some people when they are exposed to a specific object or situation.

    Substance-induced anxiety disorder 

    A substance-induced anxiety disorder is characterized by feelings of intense anxiety or panic caused by misusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to toxic substances, or withdrawing from them.

    Other specific anxiety disorders and unspecified anxiety disorder

    Specified anxiety disorder and unspecified anxiety disorder refer to anxiety or phobias that don’t fit into any other anxiety disorder but are distressing and disruptive.

    When To See A Doctor For Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders

    Anxiety Disorders - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention
    Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders

    In case you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor:

    • Worrying too much is interfering with your work, relationships, or other aspects of your life
    • Anxiety, worry, or fear are upsetting to you and difficult to control
    • Feeling depressed, struggling with alcohol or drugs, or having anxiety along with other mental health concerns
    • There is a possibility that your anxiety could be related to a physical health issue
    • If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors, seek emergency treatment right away

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      If you don’t seek help, your worries may worsen over time. Talk to your doctor or a mental health provider before your anxiety gets worse. It’s easier to treat if you get treatment early.

      The Causes Of Anxiety Disorders

      Anxiety Disorders - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention
      The Causes Of Anxiety Disorders

      Anxiety disorders appear to be triggered by life experiences such as traumatic events in individuals already prone to anxiety. Inherited traits may also play a role.

      Causes could be medically related. Certain health issues may contribute to anxiety in some people. 

      Symptoms of anxiety may be the first signs of a medical problem in some cases. If your doctor suspects your anxiety may be caused by a medical issue, he or she may order tests.

      Anxiety can cause a variety of medical problems, including:

      • Heart disease
      • Diabetic complications
      • Thyroid problems, for example, hyperthyroidism.
      • Respiratory disorders, for example, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 
      • Withdrawal or misuse of drugs
      • Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome
      • Rare tumours that produce certain fight-or-flight hormones
      • Anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) and alcohol withdrawal

      Some medications can cause anxiety as a side effect. An underlying medical condition may cause your anxiety if:

      • There are no blood relatives (such as a parent or sibling) with anxiety disorders
      • As a child, you didn’t suffer from anxiety disorders
      • Anxiety does not cause you to avoid certain things or situations
      • Anxiety seems unrelated to life events, and you have no previous history of anxiety

      Factors That Increase Risk Of Anxiety Disorders

      Factors That Increase Risk Of Anxiety Disorders
      Factors That Increase Risk Of Anxiety Disorders

      Anxiety disorders may be caused by the following factors:

      Trauma 

      Children who have endured abuse or trauma or witnessed traumatic events are more likely to develop anxiety disorders as adults as well.

      Stress due to an illness

      When you suffer from a health condition or serious illness, you may worry about your treatment and the future.

      Stress buildup

      Excessive anxiety can be triggered by a big event or a series of smaller stressful life events, such as a tragedy in the family, work stress, or ongoing financial difficulties.

      Personality

      Anxiety disorders are more prevalent in people with certain personality types.

      Other mental health disorders

      Anxiety disorders are often associated with other mental health disorders such as depression.

      Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder

      Blood relatives with anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders can run in families.

      Drugs or alcohol

      Anxiety can be exacerbated or caused by drugs or alcohol.

      Complications That May Arise

      It is not just that anxiety disorders make you worry. They can also worsen and lead to other mental and physical conditions, such as:

      • Depression (which is often accompanied by anxiety disorders) or other mental illnesses
      • Misuse of substances
      • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
      • Problems with the digestive system or bowels
      • Chronic pain and headaches
      • Isolation from social interactions
      • School or work performance problems
      • Life quality is poor
      • Attempting suicide
      Anxiety Disorders - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

      The Prevention Of Anxiety Disorders

      When you’re anxious, you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms by taking the following steps:

      Get help early: Anxiety, like many mental health conditions, is harder to treat if you wait too long.

      Stay active: Enjoy social interaction and caring relationships, which can lessen your worries, by staying active and participating in activities that make you feel good about yourself.

      Avoid alcohol or drug use: When you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, quitting can make you anxious. If you can’t quit on your own, you should see a doctor or join a support group.

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        Final Thoughts

        It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders, their causes, and how to prevent them.

        With the right knowledge, support and resources, those suffering from an anxiety disorder can manage it more effectively and improve their quality of life.

        Anxiety disorders can be a tumultuous journey, but with dedication and self-care, it is possible to work through it in order to find relief.

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