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Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

People with Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder?present a variety of physical symptoms in addition to non-physical symptoms that characterize the disorders such as excessive, unrealistic worrying. Many of these symptoms are similar to those exhibited by a person suffering general illness, heart attack, or stroke, and this tends to further increase anxiety.

Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread.

Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.

Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should seek information and treatment right away.

The following is a list of physical symptoms associated with GAD:

  • Trembling
  • Churning stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Numbness or “pins and needles” in arms, hands or legs
  • Sweating/flushing
  • Restlessness
  • Easily tired
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Frequent urination
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Being easily startled

Those suffering from panic disorders may experience similar physical symptoms to those with GAD. They also may experience chest pains, a sense of choking, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Post-traumatic stress disorders have a range of symptoms that are unique to this form of anxiety. Frequent symptomatic behaviors include:

    • Flashbacks or nightmares of re-experiencing the trauma
    • Avoidance of people, places, and things that are associated with the original event
    • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
    • Closely watching surroundings (hypervigilance)
    • Irritability and diminished feelings or aspirations for the future

Who Is At Risk?

Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty.

Women are 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime. Non-Hispanic blacks are 20% less likely, and Hispanics are 30% less likely, than non-Hispanic whites to experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.

A large, national survey of adolescent mental health reported that about 8 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms commonly emerging around age 6. However, of these teens, only 18 percent received mental health care.


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