If you experience persistent anxiety symptoms then you may have an anxiety-related disorder. There are a range of anxiety disorders that can be very frightening for sufferers to experience. The main major anxiety disorders are panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Although each of these disorders share similar symptom presentations they all have different diagnostic criteria. Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder which affects those who experience excessive worries about a range of things and is not limited to social situations. Social anxiety disorder is where the sufferer’s anxiety symptoms are triggered by social situations. Panic disorder is a fear of experiencing a severe panic attack. Severe panic disorder known as agoraphobia is when the sufferer avoids certain places for fear of having a panic attack. Post traumatic stress disorder develops from a traumatic incident that has not been processed properly.

Typical anxiety symptoms are either somatic (bodily) or psychological. When a sufferer becomes completely overwhelmed by the anxiety then they may experience a panic attack where somatic symptoms become more prominent and intense.

Somatic symptoms
• Rapid breathing
• Change in perceived temperature- very hot or freezing cold
• Chest pain
• Dizziness or light-headedness
• Sweating
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle aches and pain
• Vision disruption
• Rapid heart rate
• Shaking hands
• Digestive upset
• Sick feeling in the stomach

Psychological symptoms
• Worry about events that may or may not happen
• Frequent and/ or constant excessive anxiety
• Difficulty handling stress
• Obsessional thoughts
• Paranoia
• Dwelling on the past
• Fear or judgement by others
• Pessimism
• Despair
• Procrastination
• Negative thoughts
• Overreaction to situations
• Avoidance
• Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
• Fear of dying
• Fear of social situations/ social rejection
• Withdrawal from social situations
• Unrealistic/ high expectations
• The compulsive need to check and double check things

Panic attacks can incorporate a combination of these symptoms and can be a very frightening experience. Many people feel as though they are having a heart attack when it is actually an anxiety attack.

Researchers theorize that anxiety symptoms are caused by a combination of biological (chemical), psychological (thinking patterns) and social factors and is influenced by early childhood experiences. When anxiety symptoms interfere with daily functioning then it may be an indicator that you have a serious anxiety disorder.

The symptoms of anxiety sufferers vary depending on the severity of the disorder. If you or someone you know has identified these symptoms then anxiety treatments should be sought immediately. If left untreated the anxiety sufferer could be faced with longer term mental health problems.

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Filed under: Symptoms

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