What Are the Symptoms of An Anxiety Disorder?
Symptoms vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder, but general symptoms may include:
- Feelings of panic, fear, and/or ongoing uneasiness
- Problems sleeping, including insomnia, nightmares, and night terrors
- Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
- Shortness of breath, chest pains
- Heart palpitations or chest tightening
- Significant restlessness and an inability to be still and calm
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
- Muscle tension and an inability to relax
- Dizziness, instability
These symptoms can occur in children, tweens, teens, young adults, and adults.
There are many recognized types of anxiety disorders, including:
Panic Disorder: People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Symptoms of a panic attack include sweating, chest pain, palpitations (unusually strong or irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking, which may make the person feel like he or she is having a heart attack or 'going crazy.' Often people find themselves at the emergency ward, worried that they are having a heart attack.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Also called Social Phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.
Specific Phobias: This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension about particular and named fears and phobias, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown, but what we do know is that anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress. As scientists continue their research on mental health, it is becoming clear that anxiety is not a result of personal weakness, a character flaw, or poor upbringing.
Certain environmental factors - such as increased stress, trauma, or negative significant events may trigger an anxiety disorder in people who have an inherited susceptibility to developing the disorder.
If you feel you may be suffering from one of these disorders, please contact your doctor, who may in turn recommend that you begin treatment with an therapist who is experienced in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and the teaching of mindfulness, as well as stress and relaxation techniques.