Anxiety Symptoms & Warning Signs

Published: February 2, 2012

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Symptoms

It is important to distinguish moments of anxiety from anxiety disorders. With moments of anxiety or anxiety attacks, person might experience a fleeting moment of anxiety for a particular reason or for no reason at all. In contrast, chronic anxiety that lasts for a period of more than six months may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Typically, feelings of stress and worry are normal: we might need to feel a little bit nervous to push through challenging situations and accomplish our short-term goals.

Feelings that are abnormal include excessive worrying and stress. You may have an exaggerated view of your problems, and you may have trouble sleeping or making it through your daily life. You might be irritable or easily scared. You might even feel depressed because of your constant state of worry and stress.

Eventually, chronic anxiety can cause long-term symptoms including muscle aches, sweating, fatigue, upset stomach, shaking, and insomnia. During a panic attack, you may have trouble breathing, and you may experience symptoms of dizziness, blurred vision, and rapid heartbeat. After the moment of panic has passed, people with chronic anxiety may start to develop chronic heart problems and hypertension.

Many people with anxiety abuse alcohol and drugs as a way to provide relief for symptoms. With excessive use, these substances can cause additional problems such as stomach ulcers and liver damage.

In general the symptoms of anxiety vary between affected people based on the type of moods and disorders.

It is believed that neurological factors, in part, can cause panic attacks. People who drink alcohol, consume caffeine, and take benzodiazepines may experience symptoms of stronger or more frequent panic attacks because the levels of certain receptors become lower.

Stress is a common symptom of anxiety for adults who face challenges related to their health and finances. For many people, this stress can be excessive and can interfere with daily life. Stress can occur as a result of an inciting event or for no reason at all.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition that describes a situation when a person experiences stress for no particular reason. GAD patients worry excessively, uncontrollably, and irrationally about normal situations. In general, GAD patients have trouble functioning because they are always fearful about money, death, family, relationships, and work. People with GAD might feel tired, fidget, have constant headaches, feel nauseous, and have pain all over the body. Other symptoms of GAD include trouble swallowing, rashes, hot flashes, and problems breathing.

Panic disorders cause moments of intense fear. During an attack, people might start trembling, shaking, or feeling confused. While panicked, people might also have trouble breathing. A panic attack might occur in response to a particular situation or for no reason at all. Overtime, people might start to fear the panic attacks themselves, especially if they are overwhelming and unpredictable. Sometimes, you may experience a panic attack without realizing it, and you may be worried that there is something wrong with your heart. As a result, the symptoms of your panic attack may become worse.

A phobia is an irrational fear that is a response to a certain stimulus such as an insect, confined space, or situation.

Social anxiety disorder is a mental condition that involves an intense fear of public situations. People with social anxiety disorder may fear ridicule. People with this disorder experience symptoms of anxiety in everyday social situations. You might feel afraid to talk to others, eat in front of others, or share a public resource.

Warning Signs

While fleeting moments of anxiety are normal, constant feelings of overwhelming stress and worry are signs of an anxiety disorder. You should see a doctor if your anxiety is causing problems in your life and if you have been feeling constant feelings of stress or worry for more than six months. If you find yourself drinking more or using drugs to feel relief, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Your quality of life should not suffer because of anxiety. There are options available, and there is hope, even if you feel hopeless.

Frequently, symptoms of depression accompany anxiety. You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor, especially if you feel like you are becoming depressed.

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