Anxiety is an intense feeling of fear, discomfort, and worry. Anxiety is a normal response to stress, and experiencing it occasionally is normal. But when it starts to interfere with day-to-day life or productivity, it’s a problem that needs to be tackled.
Not everyone would experience the same symptoms when they are experiencing a bout of anxiety. Here are common physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety:
Having feelings of impending danger or catastrophe
Trouble concentrating on anything else except the cause of worry
Feeling weak or tired
An urge to avoid things that trigger worry
Gastrointestinal problems (urge to use the restroom.)
A variety of things or situations can cause anxiety. They include a fear of the unknown, tension, extreme stress, constant worrying, genetics, and medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
Anxiety is actually a very normal response to stressful events and experiencing occasional anxiety is not out of the ordinary. This type of anxiety is usually short-lived. However, when anxiety becomes larger than the event that triggered it and is beginning to interfere with your life, it could imply an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are usually characterized by the extreme and irrational fear of certain things (phobias)
Recognizing the different types and their symptoms to manage anxiety disorders is the first step. Here are a few of the common types of anxiety disorders
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: this is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a lot of issues instead of one event. You find yourself worried about literally everything ranging from school, to your job, to your social life, to your health, to even household chores. You cannot seem to let go of your worries and it causes you distress.
2. Agoraphobia: this is a dear of places that can cause you to feel helpless, trapped or embarrassed. This often causes you to avoid places like this.
3. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: this has to do with having excessive, repeated, and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) that lead to the urge to do something repeatedly. (Compulsions).
4. Selective Mutism: this is an inability to speak in certain situations. It mostly affects children. For example, they speak and interact well at home but remain painfully quiet in school.
5. Panic Disorder: this has to do with repeated episodes of panic attacks characterized by sudden feelings of intense fear and dread that peak within minutes. These panic attacks leave you worried about when they’d happen again and the cycle continues.
6. Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorders: this is when symptoms of intense anxiety are experienced due to exposure to a toxic substance, drug misuse, or even withdrawal from drugs.
7. Social Anxiety Disorder: this is characterized by a high level of anxiety and avoidance of social events or situations that would require socializing due to feelings of self-consciousness and a fear of being judged or mocked by other people.
There are other unspecified phobias that are equally distressing and can disrupt daily living. The causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood and they differ from person to person. Trauma and genetic factors usually play a role.
See a therapist if your state of worry is beginning to constantly interfere with your work, relationships, or other areas of your life; or you’re beginning to experience symptoms of depression or suicide ideations.