Anxiety Symptoms: Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Discover the common signs and symptoms of anxiety disorder, including physical and psychological manifestations, to identify and address this condition effectively.

Feeling anxious sometimes is a part of life we all experience. But for some, this anxiety can become extreme. People with anxiety disorders often worry too much and feel afraid about normal events. These fears can lead to panic attacks, moments of extreme anxiety.1 These panic attacks can be overwhelming, last for a long time, and make doing regular things hard. You might find yourself avoiding certain situations to dodge these feelings. Often, these emotions start in childhood or the teenage years and stay with you as an adult.1 There are different types, such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

Key Takeaways

  • Anxiety disorders involve intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear that interfere with daily life.
  • Panic attacks are a common symptom of anxiety disorders, characterized by sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear.
  • Anxiety disorders can start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood.
  • There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
  • Avoiding situations that trigger anxiety is a common coping mechanism for people with anxiety disorders.

Overview of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a feeling we all know. But for some, it becomes too much. Those with anxiety disorders feel extreme fear often. This fear affects daily life and can be very hard to stop.1 They may have sudden panic attacks, making things like work or school tough. These moments of intense fear are not always connected to real dangers.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety starts from stress or facing something fearful. However, it’s more for those with anxiety disorders. They might always feel worried or have panic attacks. These strong emotions and physical signs can stop them from enjoying life fully.

Difference Between Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders

Feeling anxious now and then is normal. But for those with anxiety disorders, it’s a lot to handle. Their fears and worries don’t just come and go. They stay and make daily life hard to live.

Prevalence of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders affect many. In 2019, about 301 million people worldwide faced it.1 Women often deal with it more than men do.1 This includes types like social anxiety and phobias. In the US alone, many live with these conditions.1

Common Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety disorders bring a mix of physical, mental, and behavioral signs.1 These include feeling scared, restless, or like something bad is about to happen. Your heart may beat fast, you may start breathing quickly, and you could sweat a lot. You might shake, feel weak, or get easily tired. Plus, you could find it hard to focus, sleep, or you might worry a lot about stomach problems.1 Those with anxiety might also avoid stuff that makes them anxious.

Physical Symptoms

Feeling anxious can lead to a lot of bodily signs.1 Your heart might race, you could start breathing hard, and sweat a bunch. You might also shake and feel weak or really tired. These signs can make day-to-day life harder.

Psychological Symptoms

Inside your mind, anxiety might show itself as too much worry, fear, or a feeling that something bad will happen.1 People might have trouble focusing, feel always on alert, and not be able to stop worrying.

Behavioral Symptoms

When it comes to behavior, anxiety can cause you to avoid things, places, or objects that make you anxious.1 You might also feel restless and find it tough to sleep. These are ways to try to handle the deep anxiety feelings.

Understanding the many symptoms of anxiety can help you find the right treatment and support.1 Getting help early is key to stop anxiety from getting worse and affecting your life.

anxiety symptoms

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety shows up in different ways, each with special signs and effects. Some common types are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.1

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) means always worrying too much. This could be about work, family, health, or money. People with GAD find it hard to stop these big, unrealistic worries.1 It often comes with other anxiety disorders or depression.1

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder leads to unexpected panic attacks. These attacks bring on intense fear or terror quickly.1 They can change how someone behaves to avoid having more attacks.2

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder or social phobia makes people scared of social situations. They might avoid speaking in front of others or going to events.2 This fear can affect their work or school life.2

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Specific Phobias

Specific phobias are strong fears of certain things or places, like flying or heights. These fears can greatly upset someone and make them avoid what they’re scared of.12 It makes it hard for them to live their daily life.2

It’s common for people with anxiety to have more than one disorder. Knowing the signs of each type is key to helping them.1

Anxiety Symptoms

Feelings of nervousness or restlessness, or a sense of danger, are signs of anxiety. Your heart may beat fast, and you might breathe hard or sweat. You could also feel weak, tired, or find it hard to focus. Sleep problems and stomach issues can also be linked to anxiety.

If you have these feelings a lot, or if they stop you from doing things, you might have an anxiety disorder. This could make you avoid situations that cause stress.1

Anxiety shows up in physical, mental, and behavioral ways. It’s important to know these signs so you can get help for an anxiety disorder. Getting help early is key to stop these symptoms from getting worse. This will help you live a full life.13

anxiety symptoms

If anxiety keeps you from daily life, it could be a disorder. Knowing about anxiety disorders and their symptoms is helpful. It guides you in finding the right help and ways to manage it.2

When to Seek Professional Help

Feeling anxious in a way that makes life hard might mean you need help.4 Signs to look out for include always feeling worried, not being able to sleep, and struggling with daily tasks.4 If your anxiety is severe, it can cause negative thoughts, constant alertness, being easily annoyed, and not being able to sit still. This can affect your health in big ways.4

Interfering with Daily Life

When anxiety makes you upset and hard to calm down, it’s time to get help.4 Severe anxiety can stop you from going to work or school, or even doing simple chores. This is a sign you should see a professional.4

Persistent and Uncontrollable Worry

Worries might not fade on their own and could grow if not addressed.5 Getting help for anxiety early makes it easier to treat.5

Coexisting Mental Health Conditions

If you’re also feeling depressed or battling alcohol or drug misuse, get help.6 Professionals can help you beat addiction and any worsening mental health problems. This could lead to better outcomes in the long run.6 If you suspect your anxiety is connected to a physical issue, talking to a healthcare provider is a good idea.5

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders’ causes mix genetic and environmental reasons.1 Certain life events or traumas might spark anxiety in those already inclined.1 Also, traits passed down from family can play a part.1

Genetic and Environmental Factors

For some, anxiety connects to deeper health issues. These include heart disease, diabetes, and others.1 Compounds taken or stopped may also cause anxiety.1

Medical Conditions

2 Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) brings a constant feeling of worry. It can last for months.2 Panic disorder leads to often sudden panic attacks. Symptoms include fast heart rate and sweating.2 Social anxiety disorder makes people very afraid of what others think. They may avoid social events and blush easily.2 Phobias bring unreal fears of particular things. This fear might cause people to avoid such things.2

Substance Use and Withdrawal

1 Using drugs or toxic substances and then stopping can create anxiety disorders.1

causes of anxiety disorders

Risk Factors for Developing Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can be triggered by traumatic events, ongoing stress, and family background. Knowing about these factors helps us spot those at higher risk for mental health issues.

Traumatic Experiences

Events that shake you to the core, especially if you’re young, can up your anxiety risk. Kids who face abuse or see scary things often battle anxiety later.1 Going through high-stress situations, like violence or abuse, before 21 can do the same.7

Chronic Stress

Handling too much stress over time can kick off anxiety disorders. Big life changes, like losing someone you love, or pressures from work, might set them off.1 Also, dealing with intense stress at war or in tough jobs can heighten this risk.7

Family History

Your genes and family history are big factors in anxiety disorders. People with family members who have the disorder might get it too. This shows how important it is to look at family history when understanding these conditions.7

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Complications of Untreated Anxiety Disorders

Not treating anxiety disorders can cause big problems for both mind and body. It increases the chance of getting depressed or abusing substances.8 People with anxiety may face sleep problems, stomach issues, headaches, and more pain from their other health issues.8

Impact on Mental Health

Anxiety can really mess with your head if you don’t get help. It often leads to depression, especially after having a baby. Up to 10.8% of people with one type of anxiety might feel down in the dumps then.8 If anxiety goes untreated, you might turn to harmful things like drugs or alcohol, making mental health even worse.8

Physical Health Consequences

Worrying too much affects more than just your mind. It’s been tied to heart disease, high blood pressure, and other physical problems.8 Plus, health issues that come with anxiety can make your pain even worse.8

Social and Occupational Impairment

Anxiety can stop you from hanging out or working. You might end up alone, avoiding people and places that make you anxious.8 This could mess up your job or school because anxiety makes doing things very hard.8

It’s crucial to deal with anxiety early to avoid these bad outcomes. Getting the right help can really make a difference. You can learn to handle anxiety and have a better life.983

Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders

Healthcare providers diagnose anxiety disorders through a detailed checkup. They ask patients about their symptoms and past medical issues. Ta healthcare provider walso uses quizzes and other tools to understand the anxiety type and severity.1

Clinical Evaluation

They delve into the patient’s symptoms during the evaluation. This includes how often the anxiety happens and its effects. They review the patient’s medical history and medications too.1

Screening Tools

As part of the checkup, healthcare providers may ask the patients to fill out questionnaires. These help to spot anxiety and measure how severe it is. Other tests like clinical interviews compare symptoms to known anxiety disorders.1

Ruling Out Medical Conditions

It’s crucial to check for other health conditions that might cause anxiety.1 This could involve blood tests or imaging scans. The goal is to make sure anxiety isn’t due to a hidden health problem.1

Once all these steps are done, healthcare providers can pinpoint the anxiety disorder type. Then, they create a treatment plan specific to the patient’s needs.1

diagnosing anxiety

Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders

If you have an anxiety disorder, there are several ways to treat it. You can choose from talking to a therapist, taking medicine, or trying self-care.10


Talking to someone in therapy can work wonders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are top picks. They teach you how to deal with anxiety and its root causes.2 CBT stands out as the best therapy for anxiety disorders.10


Medication is another help for treating anxiety. SSRIs, a type of antidepressants, can balance your brain chemicals.2 Buspirone is another option that helps calm your anxiety.10

Self-Care Strategies

You can also take care of yourself. Staying active and managing stress are great first steps. Sleep well, and try not to drink too much or use drugs.10 Being in support groups and socializing can also make a big difference. They can stop you from feeling alone and reduce your worries.10

Your doctor will talk with you to make a treatment plan that fits you best. They look at what you need and what each treatment can do for you.102

Prevention and Management of Anxiety Disorders

No one can guess who might end up with an anxiety disorder. But we can take some steps to make the symptoms less severe and stop the condition from getting worse.1112 It’s key to get help early, as soon as the first signs of anxiety show up.

Stress Management Techniques

Learning how to manage stress, through relaxation and mindfulness, is a great way to handle anxiety.12 Practicing these skills gives us ways to deal with the feelings and worries that come with anxiety disorders.

Lifestyle Changes

Changing our lifestyle can be very helpful too. This means regular exercise, eating well, and steering clear of alcohol and drugs.12 Doing these good-for-you things can boost overall health and make us stronger in times of stress.

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Using programs in the community that focus on kids and teens can also work.1112 These programs help young people learn how to cope and express their feelings in a healthy way. This helps shield them from anxiety disorders.


Anxiety disorders are very common, affecting about 301 million people around the globe in 2019.12 These conditions bring intense worry and fear, making daily life hard. It’s key to notice the signs and understand anxiety. Then, it’s crucial to find the right help. With support and proper interventions, coping gets easier. People with anxiety can really boost their well-being.

About 34% of people in the US might face anxiety at some point.13 But, only a small percent get help, just 36.9%.12 Anxiety disorders create big costs for health, society, and the economy worldwide. The solution is early action and good treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. These can help beat anxiety and improve life quality.

To wrap up, anxiety disorders can be dealt with effectively. With good support, individuals can handle their symptoms better and make life better. This article stresses the need to spot anxiety signs, know what causes it, and get professional help. This is true for this widely spread mental issue that affects many but can be helped.


What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a common feeling we all have sometimes. Those with anxiety disorders, though, worry a lot. They fear everyday things more than others do.

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders?

Feelings of nervousness and tension are normal signs of anxiety. It can make you feel like danger is near. Your heart may race, you might breathe quickly, and you might sweat a lot.Other signs include trembling, feeling weak, and having trouble focusing. Sleep issues and stomach problems can also happen.

What are the different types of anxiety disorders?

There are a few types of anxiety disorders. These include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. There are also specific phobias.It’s possible to have more than one type of these fears at the same time.

When should someone seek professional help for anxiety?

If anxiety starts affecting your job or relationships, it’s time to see a doctor. Feeling anxious all the time, and not being able to control it, is also a sign. If you’re coping with depression or misusing alcohol, seeking help is crucial. Also, if you think your anxiety might be because of a physical health issue, don’t hesitate to get checked.

What causes anxiety disorders?

The exact causes of anxiety disorders are still unknown. They likely come from a mix of genetics and life experiences. Trauma, for example, can trigger anxiety disorders in those who are more likely to get them.

What are the risk factors for developing an anxiety disorder?

Several factors might increase your anxiety risk. These include experiencing trauma or abuse, especially during childhood. Constant stress and having family members with anxiety issues can also play a role.

What are the potential complications of untreated anxiety disorders?

Leaving anxiety untreated can lead to or worsen other health problems. These might include depression, substance abuse, and sleep issues. You could also have digestive problems, headaches, or chronic pain. Not treating anxiety may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

How are anxiety disorders diagnosed?

To diagnose anxiety, a healthcare provider will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. They might use questionnaires to better understand how severe your anxiety is. This helps them decide on the best treatment.

What are the treatment options for anxiety disorders?

Thankfully, there are many treatments for anxiety disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy can teach new coping methods. Some medicines, like certain antidepressants, may also be used to help. Additionally, self-care practices like regular exercise and stress management are beneficial.

How can anxiety disorders be prevented or managed?

Starting treatment early can be very impactful. Learning how to manage stress and practice mindfulness can help reduce anxiety. Also, adopting healthy habits such as regular exercise, proper diet, and avoiding substances like alcohol and drugs can lessen the risk or impact of an anxiety disorder.

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