Anxiety: Anxiety symptoms
Anxiety Symptoms:
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Anxiety symptoms: Main anxiety symptoms

What is anxiety?

There are several types of anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. An anxiety disorder, however, differs from normal stress in that symptoms such as worry, panic and/or physical discomfort are more intense and frequent, and persist even when the situational pressures of life lessen. An anxiety disorder typically causes a great deal of distress, and interferes with the ability to relax and experience a sense of well-being.

How many people have anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders comprise the most common mental health diagnosis in the U.S. Approximately 1 in 9 people suffer from an anxiety disorder at any given time.

It's important to diagnose anxiety

It is important to diagnose and treat an anxiety disorder that develops or worsens during the college years to help prevent the problem from becoming chronic and continuing into later life. There are several types of anxiety disorders, and each has its own set of common symptoms:

Anxiety: 6 symptoms of anxiety disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People with GAD experience long-term constant anxiety and worry about many parts of their life. They feel helpless to control this worrying. The anxiety and worry prevent them from functioning normally with family and friends, at work, at school, or in other ways. It is common that people with GAD experience difficulty sleeping, headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, restlessness, or irritability related to their anxiety. People with GAD are at increased risk for substance abuse (including alcohol), depression, and suicide.

Panic Disorder (PD)

People with PD experience panic attacks and intense worry about when the next attack will happen. Panic attacks are sudden attacks of fear that last for minutes. Usually people with panic attacks fear that they will lose control or that disaster is coming when there is no real danger present. Often people will have physical symptoms during a panic attack such as sweating, difficulty breathing, racing heart, dizziness, chest pain, or a feeling that they are having a heart attack.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

It is a debilitating condition where a patient is stuck in “survival mode” following exposure to a significant threat to themselves or others. Evidence-based treatment consists of a combination of medications and psychotherapy targeting cognitive distortions and relaxation. Substance use disorders are quite frequent in this population, indicating a need for consistently enquiring about substance misuse, as well as avoiding abusable substances in treatment when possible.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

It's a debilitating disorder where anxiety-inducing beliefs (obsessions) are experienced to the exclusion of other thoughts, and are remedied with behaviors that are excessive, yet are engaged in to reduce anxiety. Both the obsessions and the compulsions are excessive enough that they interfere with functioning. Evidence-based treatment of OCD consists of medications and psychotherapy targeting the futility of compulsions and learning to tolerate obsessions (cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure and response prevention).

Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)

It is marked by significant anxiety when in social situations, or when performing in front of others. It is marked by physiological reactions, such as tachycardia, diaphoresis, tremor, as well as fears of being judged by others. Evidence-based treatment of Social Phobia includes both medications (SSRIs and beta-blockers) as well as psychotherapy or practice.

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