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Introduction

Experiencing occasional anxiety is part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations that make their day to day functioning difficult and persistent over a long period of time.

Prevalance

Symptoms
  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Having difficulty controlling worry
  • Inability to relax
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Several types of anxiety disorders exist:

  • Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder includes persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about general ordinary or routine activities or events.
  • Panic disorder is repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks), characterized by feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, increased heart beats (palpitations). These situations may lead to constant fear or worrying about them happening in future and they start avoiding such situations in which they've occurred.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by Obsessions which are recurrent thoughts, ideas, images or impulses that are senseless, involuntary, unwantedand distressful and causing anxiety; and Compulsions which are repetitive mental or physical acts or rituals that are repetitive in nature and are performed to reduce the anxieties caused by the obsessions.
  • Selective mutism is a consistent failure of children to speak in one or more specific situations, such as school, despite speak in other situations, such as at home, with close family members, or friends.
  • Separation anxiety disorder is a childhood disorder characterized excessive and developmentally inappropriate fear of being away from parents, care givers or others who have parental roles. It starts around age 6 months and decreases after 2-3 years of age.
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance behavior of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, self-criticism and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
  • Specific phobias are characterized by major anxiety when you're exposed to a specific object or situation and a desire to avoid it. Phobias provoke panic attacks in some people.

Consult your doctor if:

  • You feel like you're worrying too much, have chain of thoughts and it's interfering with your work, relationships or other domain of your life.
  • You remain afraid, feel panic, or your worry or anxiety is upsetting you, negative thoughts, death wish or suicidal ideation and difficult to control these.
  • You feel depressed, have started alcohol or drug use and causing physical health problems.
Complications
  • Depression or other mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulties in sleep(insomnia)
  • Digestive or bowel upset.
  • Chronic pain, Multiple somatic Pain, Headache.
  • Remain isolated, avoidance behavior.
  • Problems functioning at school or work, start skipping school.

Diagnosis

To help diagnose an anxiety disorder and rule out other conditions, your psychiatrist may give you a psychological evaluation with a detailed history and mental status examination

Treatment

The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two.
Complications
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. CBT includes exposure therapy, in which you gradually expose the object or situation that triggers your anxiety so you build confidence that you can manage the situation and anxiety symptoms.
Medications
  • Certain antidepressants are useful to treat anxiety disorder, few benzodiazepine for short-term relief.

Few tips for Lifestyle changes and home remedies

  • Keep physically active
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Quit smoking and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.
  • Use stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Make sleep a priority
  • Eat healthy
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