What is Anxiety?
Everyone experiences worry, fear, or stress sometimes. An anxiety disorder, however, is a mental condition in which those worries or interfere with daily activities, work, health, or relationships.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly 40 million Americans (about 18 percent of the population) experience an anxiety disorder every year. The World Health Organization reports that one in 13 people around the globe suffer from anxiety, making it the most common mental disorder.
The term “anxiety disorder” applies to several different conditions. These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder or panic attacks
- Agoraphobia (fear and avoidance of open, public, or crowded places)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Specific phobias, such as fear of spiders, heights, or enclosed spaces
What causes anxiety?
Experts are not certain what causes anxiety, but it is probably due to a combination of factors that may include:
- Chemical imbalances
- Environmental stress
- Family history
- Underlying physical health issue
- Medication side effects
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Experiencing trauma
- Specific personality traits
Anxiety can have different effects. It may create unpleasant emotions or sensations. It may prompt you to avoid certain places or situations. Anxiety can also cause distraction or irritability, affecting work performance or creating relationship strain.
What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?
Each anxiety disorder has its own symptoms, with some overlap between types. Not everyone shows all the same symptoms, which may include:
- Excessive, persistent, or recurring feelings of fear, dread, or panic
- Feeling nervous, restless, tense, or irritable
- Increased heartbeat or breathing rate
- Sweating or trembling
- Weakness or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or shifting focus away from your worries
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stomach or digestive problems
- Avoid anxiety triggers
How do I learn if I have anxiety?
If your worries, stress, or fears seem difficult to control and interfere with your life, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider. Discuss the specific symptoms that concern you, even if you are not sure about their cause. Sometimes, anxiety can be traced to a physical health issue.
An appointment with your provider can help you get the right treatment sooner, preventing additional complications. It is especially important to talk to your provider if you have other mental-health concerns, such as suicidal thoughts or struggles with substance use.
We also offer an anonymous online screening to heal you learn more about your symptoms and if further evaluation is needed.