The Most Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Some degree of anxiousness is a regular part of our day-to-day lives. Any time a new challenge is faced, such as a first date or a job interview, a bit of nervousness and apprehension is to be expected. When symptoms of anxietyare detached from specific events and become pervasive a challenge to be faced on daily basis anxiety can become a very disruptive presence in a person’s life, especially when it comes to social anxiety disorder symptoms.
Clinically diagnosed anxiety, referred to as General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), is characterized by long-lasting symptoms of anxiety that are not focused on any one object or situation. A diagnosis of GAD is made when a person has been excessively worried about an everyday problem for six months or more.
About four million adult Americans suffer from GAD during the course of a year. It most often begins in childhood or adolescence, but can also start in adulthood. Symptoms of anxiety are more common in women than in men.
Psychological or emotional symptoms of anxiety
Many of the psychological or emotional symptoms of anxiety are experienced regularly in an average person’s daily life. When these symptoms are experienced without provocation, or when the symptoms lead to a response that is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation, GAD is often the cause.
Some of these symptoms of anxiety are:
- Irrational or excessive fear or worry
- Anticipating the worst outcome of any given situation
- Trouble concentrating and holding a thought
- Constantly looking for signs of danger or stress
- Feeling tense or irritable
Physical symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety is a product of the body’s “fight-or-flight” response, and induces many physical symptoms. Sometimes these physical symptoms of anxiety lead sufferers to 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.
Some of these symptoms of anxiety are:
- Heart pounding and shortness of breath
- Muscle tension and tremors
- Nausea and/or dizziness
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
The presence of some or all of these symptoms is what lead sufferers to seek medical assistance. Once at a doctor’s office, their doctor will work to establish a medical/family history while also performing a physical examination. There is no specific medical test to determine if a patient does have anxiety disorder, but this exam may discover other medical conditions that may be contributing to how the patient is feeling.
Treating symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety disorder is often accompanied by feelings of depression. Many of the symptoms of anxiety are nearly the same as the symptoms of depression. It is believed that both conditions are the result of similar physiological causes. Because of this, treatment for symptoms of anxiety is very similar to that of depression and comes in two primary forms medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Drugs are prescribed for anxiety typically when symptoms are inhibiting one’s ability to function on a daily basis. The family of drugs often prescribed is the benzodiazepine family. These medications do have the potential for dependence; therefore, it is important to work closely with your doctor when taking them. These are also called tranquilizers, as they smooth out the muscle tension and restlessness caused by anxiety. More straightforward antidepressants, such as Paxil and Prozac, have also been used in treating symptoms of anxiety.
As part of CBT, people displaying symptoms of anxiety are taught to recognize the types of thoughts and behaviors that lead to feelings of anxiety and tension. The goal is to teach the person to identify symptoms of anxiety while they are mild in order to avert a full-blown anxiety-induced event.