An anxiety disorder is generally characterized by excessive, illogical worry or dread about everyday happenings. However, symptoms of anxiety go far beyond this general sense of worry and stress. Symptoms such as from an anxiety attack can become so severe that they may interfere with daily life. An anxiety disorder often occurs in those suffering from depression.
An anxiety disorder is typically treated with benzodiazepines (minor tranquilizers) or anti-depressant drugs. Doctors typically combine this medication with behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Changes in lifestyle, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise or yoga practice, may also help to relieve symptoms.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is marked by chronic and exaggerated anxiety with no apparent cause. People experiencing symptoms of anxiety often realize that their worries are illogical, but they can’t shake them. They are easily startled, are unable to relax and often have trouble sleeping.
Some other emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent urination
- Muscle tension
- Nausea and other stomach distress
These stress anxiety symptoms may occur on their own or in conjunction with signs of depression.
Symptoms of an Anxiety Attack
For many, symptoms of anxiety include the anxiety attack. Also called a panic attack, this is a sudden burst of intense anxiety or fear, often with no obvious trigger. The typical anxiety attack is short, usually lasting only 10 to 30 minutes. However, this anxiety disorder symptom can be quite terrifying to its victim: Many report feeling like they’re going to have a heart attack or even die during an anxiety attack.
Other common symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
- Chills or hot flashes
- Fast heartbeat or chest pains
- Feeling detached or a sense of unreality
- Feelings of craziness or losing control
- Overwhelming panic
- Trouble breathing.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a specific type of anxiety disorder. Typical OCD symptoms include excessive worry about very specific things (obsessions) and adoption of rituals (compulsions) to keep this anxiety at bay. These compulsions often consist of repetitive behaviors such as:
- Repeatedly checking locks or other security devices
- Repeating a phrase several times
- Washing hands a certain number of times.
OCD symptoms and compulsions have rigid rules, and these rules must be performed exactly in order for the sufferer to be able to relax.
Chakraburtty, A. (2009). Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the Medicine Net website: http://www.medicinenet.com/anxiety/article.htm.
Dombeck, M. (2001). Symptoms-Generalized anxiety disorder. Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the Mental Help website: http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc