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12 Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety- Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Experiencing anxiety in certain situations is a part of life. However, the people who suffer from anxiety disorders often have extreme,intense,and persistent fear and worry about daily circumstances. Anxiety disorders include repeated periods of sudden feelings of intense fear or anxiousness that reach to a zenith within minutes. The feelings of panic are difficult to control, affect normal life, can result actual danger and might last for a long time. The symptoms of anxiety attacks may start during childhood or teenage (could well be signs of depression) and continue well into adulthood. Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and separation anxiety are some of the common forms of anxiety.

Causes of Anxiety

The reasons of anxiety conditions are not entirely understood by the medical professionals as of yet. Life experiences like traumatic events tend to cause anxiety disorders in the people who are already likely to have anxiety. Hereditary traits also can be an important factor causing anxiety.

For most people, the anxiety disorder might be brought forward by a health issue. The signs and symptoms of anxiety are the first signs of medical disorder. Doctors order tests to find out the signs of anxiety that may occur due to medical causes. The medical problems that bring about anxiety include diabetes, heart diseases, hyperthyroidism, and any such conditions that bring about chronic pain. Drug withdrawal or misuse is also a leading cause of anxiety. Anxiety can also be a side effect of certain prolonged medications.

Anxiety is often hereditary and thus, you run the risk of having this disorder if any of your family members used to suffer from this issue. You can be sure that your anxiety disorder is the result of a medical issue if you did not have anxiety as a child or it does appear in your family history.

Risk Factors of Anxiety

The following factors can increase the risk of having an anxiety disorder:

  • Stress because of an illness: Having a serious health condition can cause anxiety about issues like your future and treatment.
  • Buildup Stress: A major event or a buildup of several minor stressful situations can cause heightened anxiety. For instance, a loved one’s death, work stress or financial issues.
  • Trauma: Children or adults who witness trauma or abuse are at high risk of having anxiety disorder in life.
  • Personality traits: Certain personality traits make one more vulnerable to anxiety than others.
  • Severe mental disorders: Mental health disorders like depression are also accompanied by bouts of panic attack or anxiety.
  • Drugs or alcohol abuse: Drug or alcohol abuse or withdrawal can lead to or worsen a case of anxiety.

10 Signs and Symptoms of anxiety

Though anxiety manifests itself in several signs and symptoms, ten of the most common ones have been enumerated as under.

  1. Panic and hyperventilation

A majority of the panic attacks are accompanied by hyperventilation where the person over-breaths even though he is relaxed. The body is not given time to retain CO2 and use the oxygen thus hyperventilation refuses to stop.

  1. Chest pain and troubled breathing

Chest pain is a result of hyperventilation when you feel you are short of air. The feeling of tightness in the chest leads to troubled breathing for a prolonged period of time.

  1. Excessive sweating

Sweating excessively regardless of the surrounding temperature or environment is a sign of anxiety or depression. It is also known hyperhidrosis and is generally seen in patients of social anxiety.

  1. Nausea or dizziness

During anxiety attacks, patients sense a need to sit or lay down as they feel lightheaded. Anxiety can cause your blood pressure to fall down leading to the feeling of nausea or dizziness.

  1. Continued Sleeplessness

If you continuously find yourself having trouble falling asleep due to agitation or worry, regardless of existing life problems or not, it can be a sign of anxiety. The patients wakeup feeling tensed and are unable to calm themselves down easily.

  1. Unreasonable fears

Phobias related to anxiety are not unfounded at all and in most cases, the person feels anxious even without the presence of the cause of fear. The anticipation of something or someone can hurt you is a telltale sign of anxiety.

  1. Stomach cramps or indigestion

Though anxiety starts in the mind, its manifestation in the body is through physical symptoms like digestive problems or stomach cramps. Your gut is highly sensitive to any psychological stress and that causes stomach problems.

  1. Self-consciousness

People with anxiety feel that all eyes are on them whenever they are in a crowd or are being the center of attention. The self-consciousness can lead to difficulty in talking, sweating, trembling, and blushing.

  1. Self-doubts

Persistent second-guessing one is a common feature of anxiety disorders. In fact, self-doubt is further increased when a person is faced with a question about himself that he cannot find an answer to.

  1. Feeling detached

Patients feel detached from the world and the world starts to feel unreal to them. It is common to feel like one is one the verge of dying. There is a constant feeling of being on the edge.

Diagnosis of Anxiety

To help in diagnosing anxiety disorder, your doctor might:

  • Carry out a physical examination to look for marks that the anxiety might be related to medications or medical condition
  • Order urine, blood or other tests in case of a suspected medical condition
  • Ask in depth questions about the medical history and symptoms
  • Use psychological inquiries to come up with a diagnosis

Treatments of Anxiety

The decisions on treatment are based on the extent of an impact the anxiety disorder has on the ability to function in daily life. There are two main treatment methods followed for anxiety disorders namely, medications and psychotherapy. Most of the patients benefit from a combination of both these treatments. It needs some trying and testing to understanding continuing which form of treatment can work the best.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is also known as psychological counseling or talk therapy. It includes discussing your anxiety symptoms with a therapist to deal with your problems. Cognitive therapy is the most preferred type of psychotherapy for anxiety disorder.

Cognitive behavior therapy is mostly a short-term diagnosis. It focuses on helping the patient to rightfully manage the worries and thus, assist him to return to all the activities that he gave up as a result of anxiety attacks. Once you keep at it, your symptoms will improve visibly starting from your initial success.

Medications

There are many kinds of medications that are used for the treatment of anxiety disorder, including those that have been listed as below. However, it is advisable to never take any medication without talking your doctor about risks, benefits, and probable side effects.

Antidepressants: Antidepressants, include some of the medications that fall in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or SNRI (norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) family are the first line of defense against anxiety. Some of the examples of antidepressants that help in treating anxiety disorders are duloxetine, paroxetine,venlafaxine, and the likes. Doctors recommend other antidepressants too.

Buspirone: Buspironeis a well-known anti-anxiety medicine. It may be used on a daily basis on patients of anxiety. It takes several weeks to work just like any other kinds of antidepressants.

Benzodiazepines: In some cases, the doctor might prescribe the drug benzodiazepine for a relief from symptoms of anxiety. These are a kind of sedatives which are normally used only for dealing with acute anxiety but for a short-term. These are addictive medications and are best avoided, more so if the patient already drug or alcohol abuse.

Top five home remedies for anxiety treatment

Most of the people who are suffering from anxiety need psychotherapy or proper medication to deal with their condition. But, lifestyle changes and home remedies have also been seen to bring in a remarkable difference. The following are top five home remedies to treat anxiety disorder.

Keep yourself physically active: Exercise is one of the most powerful stress busters. So, try to form a routine that lets you be active physically for most days. It will visibly boost up your mood and assist you in staying mentally and physically healthy. Start slowly and go on increasing the time period and intensity of the physical activities as days pass.

Give importance to sleep: Do anything you can to ensure that you get the proper and undisturbed sleep at night. If nothing works, talk to your doctor about this.

Use relaxation practices: Yoga, meditation, and audio-visual techniques are proven to ease out your bouts of anxiety.

Eat healthy: It is said that eating healthy, like plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains are said to reduce anxiety. Similarly, fast food and oily food can increase anxiety. However, this factor needs further research to be confirmed.

Avoid unhealthy addictions: Substances like drugs and alcohol might worsen an already severe case of anxiety. Caffeine and nicotine are known to worsen anxiety. So cut back on your daily number of coffee and quit smoking as early as possible.

These points should be kept in your mind when you are suffering from anxiety. You should take proper care of yourself to avoid anxiety and lead a confident life.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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