Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is normal human experience which everyone experiences. When it interferes with your day to day life, ie work, home, school, relationship, it becomes a disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness affecting 1/5 of the US population. Anxiety can mimic any medical illness.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
  • Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts
  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing
  • Biting nails
  • Flashbacks of traumatic experiences
  • Nightmares
  • Problems sleeping
  • An inability to sit still

Symptoms of a panic attack:

These often last from a few seconds to few minutes

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Tightness in chest / chest pain
  • Feeling that one is having a heart attack, stroke or that one is going to die.
  • Intense feeling of terror.
  • Feeling of choking or smothering.
  • Feeling faint or dizzy.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or stomachache.
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes.
  • Fear of losing control

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Panic Disorder

Symptoms include sudden unexpected:

  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitation
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feeling like one is having a heart attack or stroke
  • Feeling like one is losing his or her mind
  • Feeling of terror

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Symptoms include:

  • Obsessions which are recurrent, persistent thought, impulses or images which are intrusive and inappropriate. They cause marked distress and anxiety. The person knows these are product of his/her own mind.
  • Compulsions which are repeated behavior i.e. excessive hand washing, praying, cleaning, turning off lights, checking doors/windows.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Is a condition that one can develop after suffering or witnessing a traumatic event such as war, sexual or physical assault, natural disaster or unexpected death of a loved one.

Symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks of traumatic event
  • Nightmares
  • Hypervigilance
  • Numbness and avoidance
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability and anger

Social anxiety disorder

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent and marked fear of performance in social situations
  • Person is self-conscious
  • Person is afraid of being judged by others
  • Fearful of embarrassment or ridicule

Specific Phobias

  • Fear of a specific object or situation i.e. crowds, heights, elevators, flying, bridges, tunnels, snakes, needles, doctors coats etc.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive worry and anxiety
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Restlessness, feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Tiredness
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Poor sleep

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