symptoms of anxiety disorders

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Written by: Melissa Hart

Some of the most common forms of anxiety disorders include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD occurs when normal worries and fears turn into persistent, nagging thoughts that affect various aspects of daily life. The most common symptoms of this particular type of anxiety disorder include:

- Chest pains
- Chronic worrying
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue
- Feelings of dread, unease
- Inability to control anxious thoughts
- Insomnia or trouble staying asleep
- Irritability
- Nausea, stomach problems
- Procrastination
- Restlessness
- Sweating
- Trembling, shaking, twitching

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Characterized by unwanted and repetitive thoughts or compulsions, OCD causes seemingly uncontrollable thoughts and obsessions. Some of the most often experienced symptoms or types of obsessions include:

- Fear of germs
- Fear of disorder
- Fear of causing harm to either oneself or other people
- Intense superstitions or obsessing about luck
- Excessive religious thoughts

Panic Disorder
Panic attacks are sudden, unexpected periods of intense discomfort, fear, and or anxiety. As many as a third of all adults have experienced a panic attack at some time in their lives marked by symptoms such as:

- Chest pains
- Dizziness
- Feeling out of control
- Heart palpitations, pounding heart, racing pulse
- Hot or cold flashes
- Nausea
- Shaking or trembling
- Smothering sensation in the chest

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia
Affecting as many as 15% of American adults at any one time, social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is defined by an overwhelming fear of public humiliation. Both men and women are equally affected by this anxiety disorder, which usually begins in childhood or adolescence and can be accompanied by other conditions such as depression. Social phobia is defined as a disabling fear of embarrassment or public scrutiny, leading people to avoid social gatherings. Some of the more common symptoms of social anxiety disorder include:

- A fear of being judged or scrutinized by people, especially strangers
- Avoidance of social situations
- Extreme self-consciousness
- Fear of doing something embarrassing or humiliating
- Intense fear or worrying before a social event, sometimes days or weeks in advance

Common Emotional and Psychological Symptoms
Regardless of the exact type of disorder, the most common emotional and psychological symptoms associated with all anxiety disorders may include a few, or several of the following:

- Apprehension or uneasiness
- Avoidance of social situations and activities
- Behavioral problems in children and teenagers
- Confusion
- Hyper vigilant about one's surroundings
- Insecure and self-conscious
- Intense feelings of apprehension
- Fear of dying or going insane
- Feelings of irritability
- Feeling trapped, unable to escape
- Restlessness, edginess

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to the numerous emotional effects, some anxiety disorder symptoms may also be physical in nature. Because of this, many people mistakenly believe they have some other type of medical illness or condition, rather than realizing they are the effects of anxiety. Some of these physical symptoms include:

- Cold, clammy skin
- Diarrhea
- Headaches
- Insomnia
- Fatigue
- Muscle tension
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating
- Tremors


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