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Anxiety - Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

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Anxiety - Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

5 min read


It is alarming if anxiety persists and interferes with regular tasks. Learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatments by reading this article.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At October 17, 2019
Reviewed AtApril 4, 2024

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety is the body's natural reaction to stress. It is a feeling of fear about what is to come. On the first day of school, heading off to a prospective employee meeting or giving a speech in front of a gathering may cause most people to feel fearful and anxious. But if sentiments of anxiety are severe and they last for longer than six months and have started interfering with life, one may have an anxiety issue. It is ordinary to feel anxious about moving to a new place, starting a new job, or right before taking an exam. These things might feel unpleasant, but the anxiety that results may motivate one to work more earnestly and do a better job. Common anxiety is a feeling that goes back and forth but does not interfere with regular daily existence.

On account of an anxiety issue, the sentiment of fear may be with one constantly. It can be so severe that it sometimes is debilitating. Such type of anxiety makes individuals stop doing things that they find exciting and appreciate. In extreme cases, it may prevent them from doing common daily activities like taking the elevator, going across the street, or leaving their home. If left untreated, this condition will worsen.

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of emotional issue and can affect anybody at any age. As indicated by the American Psychiatric Association, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety issue.

What Are the Types of Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety is a vital part of a few different disorders. These include:

  • Panic Disorder - Experiencing repeating fits of anxiety at unexpected times. An individual with panic disorder may live in fear of the next attack of anxiety.

  • Fear - Excessive fear of a specific object, situation, or activity.

  • Social Anxiety Issue - Extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations.

  • Over-The-Top Impulsive Issue - Repeating irrational thoughts that lead one to perform specific, repeated practices.

  • Separation Anxiety Issue - Ceaseless fear of being away from home or friends and family.

  • Illness Anxiety Issue - Anxiety about the health.

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Anxiety following a traumatic event.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

Emotions can feel like butterflies in the stomach to a rapidly beating heart. individuals might feel out of control as if there is a disconnection between their brain and body.

Some other ways people experience anxiety are nightmares, alarm attacks, and painful thoughts or recollections that they cannot control. They may have a general sentiment of fear and stress, or they may fear a specific spot or event.

The common symptoms of general anxiety are:

  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate).

  • Rapid shallow breathing.

  • Restlessness.

  • Problems with concentration.

  • Sleep disturbances.

One’s anxiety symptoms might be different from somebody else. That is why it is essential to know all the possible signs of anxiety.

Who Is Susceptible to Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders can be more likely to develop in an individual due to a combination of hereditary and environmental variables. If individuals experience any of the following, their risk of developing anxiety disorder increases-

  • Some psychological characteristics, including shyness or behavioral inhibition, include avoiding and feeling uneasy around strangers in surroundings or circumstances.

  • Painful or stressful experiences in infancy or maturity.

  • Anxiety or other mental illnesses run in the family.

  • A few medical disorders, such as thyroid issues and cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).

What Effects Do Anxiety Disorders Have on Youngsters?

Children typically experience some level of dread, worry, or anxiety from time to time. Kids frequently become trapped in their anxieties. They struggle with everyday tasks including having fun, going to school, and getting to sleep. They are very hesitant to give new things a try. If a child gets stuck, a key factor that distinguishes childhood concerns and anxiety disorder, then it is time to get an opinion from a physician.

What Is the Prevalence of Anxiety Disorders?

In the United States, anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health issues. About 40 million Americans are impacted by them. Almost 30 % of adults experience them at some stage in their lives.

What Does An Anxiety Attack Mean?

An anxiety attack can be defined by a feeling of overpowering trepidation, stress, distress, or fear. For many people, an anxiety attack assembles slowly. It may intensify when a stressful event draws near.

Anxiety attacks can shift significantly, and symptoms may differ among people. That is because many symptoms of anxiety do not occur to everybody, and they can change after some time.

The common symptoms of an anxiety attack include:

  • Feeling faint or blurry-eyed.

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea).

  • Dry mouth.

  • Sweating.

  • Chills or hot flashes.

  • Stress.

  • Restlessness.

  • Distress.

  • Fear.

  • Tremors.

A fit of anxiety and an anxiety attack share some common symptoms, but they are not the same.

What Causes Anxiety?

Researchers do not know the exact cause of anxiety. But, it is thought to be a combination of factors. These include genetic and environmental factors. In addition, researchers accept that the regions of the brain liable for controlling fear may be impacted. Current research on anxiety is taking a more profound take at the parts of the brain that are engaged with anxiety.

How Is Anxiety Diagnosed?

  • A single test cannot analyze anxiety. Instead, anxiety diagnosis requires a lengthy procedure of physical examinations, mental health evaluations, and psychological questionnaires.

  • A few doctors may conduct a physical exam, including a blood or urine test, to preclude primary medical conditions that could cause similar symptoms.

  • A few anxiety tests and scales are additionally used to help a doctor evaluate the degree of anxiety one is experiencing.

What Are the Treatment Options for Anxiety?

When individuals have been diagnosed with anxiety, they can explore treatment options with their doctor. For certain people, medical treatment is not essential. Lifestyle changes may be sufficient to adapt to the symptoms.

Treatment is necessary in moderate or severe cases, which can help beat the symptoms and lead a more sensible life. Consulting a therapist or psychologist can help them cope with anxiety attacks.

Medications like antidepressants and sedatives are used. They work to balance brain chemistry, prevent scenes of anxiety, and avoid the most severe symptoms of the turmoil.

How Are Anxiety Problems Treated in Psychotherapy?

Counseling, or psychotherapy, assists individuals in managing their emotional reactions to the condition. Techniques consist of:

  • When treating anxiety disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most often utilized psychotherapy approach. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety allows individuals to identify the thoughts and actions that trigger unsettling emotions.

  • The goal of exposure treatment is to address the underlying concerns that underlie anxiety disorders. It encourages one to participate in events or activities that one might have been neglecting.

What Are the Natural Cures Used for Anxiety?

Lifestyle changes can be an effective method to cure a portion of stress and anxiety. Some of the common home remedies include:

  • Get an adequate amount of sleep daily (at least for seven to eight hours).

  • Perform meditation.

  • Stay active and exercise regularly.

  • Consume a healthy diet.

  • Avoid alcohol consumption.

  • Limit the intake of caffeine.

  • Quit smoking.


A recent study predicts that most human deaths will be caused due to mental health problems by 2030. Most people avoid seeking medical help for anxiety out of embarrassment or social stigmas. It is time to break these stigmas and seek professional help, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. If individuals are uncomfortable seeking a physical consultation, they can always take the support of online platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Significant Signs of Anxiety?

The significant signs of anxiety include:
- Palpitations.
- Feelings of stress.
- Worry.
- Fear.
- Nervousness.
- Shortness of breath.
- Sleep problems.
- Feeling nervous, tense, or fearful.
- A rapid heart rate.
- Sweating.
- Shaking.
- Weakness.
- Restlessness.
- Panic attacks, in severe cases.
- Fast breathing or hyperventilation.
- Fatigue.
- Digestive issues.
- Dizziness.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Nausea.
- Feeling too cold or too hot.
- Chest pain.
- Irritability.
- Tense muscles.
- Avoiding social situations.


What Can Anxiety Do to My Body?

Anxiety can cause symptoms in your body like heart palpitations, difficulty in concentration, depression, headache, loss of libido (decreased sexual desire), increased blood pressure, muscle aches, and pains.


Is Anxiety Curable?

It is impossible to cure a panic disorder like anxiety completely, but we can effectively manage that it no longer affects your life.


How to Identify if I Suffer from Anxiety?

To identify whether you suffer from anxiety, check if you have signs and symptoms like:
- Constant fear.
- Worry.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Headaches.
- Fatigue.
- Sweating.
- Hot flashes.
- Abdominal pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Insomnia.
- Eating changes, that is, either eating more or too little.


How Long Can Anxiety Last?

Anxiety attacks usually last for about 30 minutes, but they can also extend for an hour or even for days. When anxiety attacks occur more frequently for many days, it is considered to be an anxiety disorder.


Why Do I Get Anxious without Any Reason?

Anxiety is sometimes a natural part of life, and it is quite common to get anxious occasionally. But if you have anxiety for no reason or reason that should not cause that level of stress, it is known as a generalized anxiety disorder.


Can Anxiety Go Away on Its Own?

Like happiness does not entirely go away, anxiety is also an emotion that will not entirely go away. Keeping you happy and comfortable helps you to beat anxiety.


Which Is the Best Exercise for Anxiety?

The best exercise for anxiety are:
- Calisthenics is a kind of exercise that applies only the weight of your body and gravity as resistance. It has been known to reduce anxiety.
- Yoga.
- Walking in nature (getting outside to get fresh air).


Can I Consult a Doctor for Anxiety?

The only reason for you to approach the doctor is to get a suitable remedy for anxiety. You should consult a doctor if you have anxiety, especially if you have panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.


How Long Does It Take for Exercise to Help with Anxiety?

About 20 to 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 times a day can make a difference with anxiety.


Can Anxiety Get Worse with Exercise?

Exercise can increase the cortisol level, making you feel worse, which happens only when you do it wrong. This does not mean that you need to quit doing exercise. There is evidence that regular aerobic exercise influences the brain, similar to anti-anxiety medicines like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Exercise can also calm the amygdala (grey matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, associated with the feeling of emotions). It also maintains sleep and appetite and increases GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels, a calming neurotransmitter, which is often at low levels in the brains of people with anxiety.


How to Soothe an Anxiety Attack?

Ways to soothe an anxiety attack are:
- Deep breathing means hyperventilating yourself.
- Cognitive distraction means distracting yourself from anxiety by mental distractions.
- Progressive muscle relaxation by slowly and consciously relaxing the muscle groups.


What Can Trigger Anxiety Attacks?

Triggering factors for anxiety disorder are:
- Health issues.
- Negative thinking.
- Medications.
- Public speaking before a huge crowd.
- Caffeine.
- Skipping meals.
- Financial concerns like worries about debts or saving money.
- Conflicts like arguments, disagreements, relationship problems, etc.
- Stress.
- Personnel triggers like post-traumatic stress disorder.


How Does Anxiety Feel Like?

Anxiety can feel like:
- Pain or tightness in the chest.
- Nervousness.
- Upset stomach or diarrhea.
- Trembling or shaking hands.
- Restlessness and the inability to sit still.
- Altered breathing, usually fast and shallow.
- Sweating uncontrollably.
- Dry mouth.
- An uneasy warmth and feeling flushed.
- Rapid heartbeat.


Which Vitamin Is Beneficial for Anxiety?

Vitamin B12 and B9 are effective antidepressants, which help in proper cerebral functioning by reducing anxiety.


Which Foods Trigger Anxiety?

The foods that trigger anxiety are:
- Sugar.
- Alcohol.
- Artificial sweeteners.
- Fast food.
- Hydrogenated oils.
- High-sodium food.
- Trans fat.
- Processed food.
- Caffeine.
- Soy sauce.
- Wheat bran.
- Coffee.
- Tofu.
- Canned soup.
- Red wine.
- Apple juice.
- Fermented food.


Which Fruit Is Helpful for Anxiety?

The fruits which are helpful in anxiety are:
- Blueberries.
- Cherries.
- Kiwi.
- Bananas.
- Avocado.
- Citrus fruits.
- Watermelon.
- Pineapple.
- Dry fruits.
Dr. Jena Pratap Chandra
Dr. Jena Pratap Chandra

Family Physician


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