A person suffering from Anxiety Disorder experiences higher rate of restlessness, worry, fear, nervousness over a long period of time, which may lasts for several weeks, months or years. People, who are suffering from Anxiety disorder take excessive stress about the events or objects and ends up with restlessness and nervousness. Such anxiety is notably different from the momentary worries – related to work, family, or something else – which most of us experience from time to time. Hence, if you worry needlessly or excessively about something, you could possibly be suffering from an anxiety disorder which can worsen over time. You should seek the help of a doctor because proper medical assistance can enable you to fight this disorder.
About Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder is a type of mental illness that can affect the well-being of the sufferers. It is a condition of ‘persistent anxiety’ which can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health, day-to-day functioning, and quality of life.
Anxiety disorder can be an extremely distressing condition because the sufferer often finds it difficult to overcome the continuous feeling of worry or restlessness related to a specific event or object. People suffering from anxiety disorder generally become excessively anxious due to a particular fear/phobia or a panic attack. But, in some cases, patients are not aware of the anxiety triggers and have a tendency to worry without any specific reason.
The exact cause of anxiety disorder is not known. However, it is believed that some of the factors which can cause this disorder are inherited traits, environmental factors, traumatic experiences, stress, and other mental health conditions.
Anxiety disorder is a potentially debilitating condition, which can affect adults as well as children. The disorder can be of different types. Some of the types of anxiety disorder are:
- Generalized anxiety: Extreme anxiety which is not linked to any particular reason, and lasts for six months or longer
- Phobia: Fear of a particular situation, object, or activity/event
- Hypochondriasis: Constant fear of suffering from serious health problems
- Separation anxiety: Fear of being separated from family or home
- Social anxiety: Fear of societal judgment or disgrace in society
- Post-traumatic stress: Overly anxious behavior after a traumatic event
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Recurring thoughts that lead to specific behaviors.
If anxiety disorder persists for long term, it can lead to other mental illnesses – like depression – and can even put a person at the potential risk of physical illnesses.
8 Signs of Anxiety Disorder
The signs of anxiety disorder can be psychological, behavioral, or physical. Eight prominent signs of the disorder are:
1. Unnecessary or Excessive Worrying
One of the characteristic indications of generalized anxiety disorder is the tendency to worry too much about daily matters. People with an anxiety disorder are overly anxious in their response to even a small or trivial anxiety-triggering event. The disproportionately worrying response to insignificant matters can gradually gain severity if it persists almost every day, for at least six months. It can hamper the execution of everyday tasks and can also lower the concentration levels.
Restlessness is a hallmark symptom of anxiety disorder, particularly in children and teenagers. The restless behavior associated with anxiety disorder can commonly be described as an ‘edgy’ feeling, fidgetiness, nervousness, or an ‘uneasy urge to move.’ A person exhibiting restless behavior almost daily for six months can be said to be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
3. Frequent Panic Attacks
Recurrent and unexpected panic attacks are a major physical sign of anxiety disorder. During a panic attack, a person experiences an overpowering sensation of fear which can be incapacitating. The feeling of extreme fright resulting from a panic attack is normally accompanied by sweating, trembling, nausea, rapid heartbeat, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, fear of losing control, or apprehension of death.
4. Social aloofness
People with anxiety disorder often choose to remain socially aloof and avoid attending social events. They stay away from social situations because of an unrealistic perception of ‘social approval.’ They are extremely anxious or fearful of being judged, scrutinized, or humiliated by others due to some supposed belief related to social acceptance. Anxiety disorder can lower a person’s self-esteem, and can also result in unwarranted self-criticism and depression.
Phobia– irrational or unfounded fear about specific things – is a common symptom of anxiety disorder. A phobia is an intense feeling of fear, linked to some specific things, creatures or situations. Some common phobias are fear of animals/insects, fear of confined spaces, fear of height, fear of blood or injections, fear of airplane journey, etc. Such fears can lead to anxiety disorder, and affect a person’s ability to behave and work normally.
6. Agitated Behavior
Anxiety disorder can cause high arousal of the brain and parts of the sensitive nervous system for an extended period of time. This arousal leads to agitated behavior which results from a feeling of fear or perceived danger. The arousal can trigger a number of effects across the body, including dryness of the mouth, shaky hands, sweaty palms, racing pulse, and thrust of blood away from the digestive system towards the muscles.
People suffering from anxiety disorder also suffer from insomnia (difficulty in falling and staying asleep) and sleep disturbances. More specifically, children who suffer from insomnia or some other sleep-related problems can potentially develop anxiety disorder in adulthood. Insomnia can affect the quality of sleep and have an adverse impact on a person’s mental well-being. It can result in concentration problems, fatigue, stress, and depression.
8. Highly Irritable Behavior
Highly irritable behavior is also a common and noticeable symptom of generalized anxiety disorder. Irritability is generally at its peak during the periods of extreme anxiety, especially in young adults and middle-aged people. There is a high level of irritability in people suffering from an anxiety disorder is usually linked to high arousal and a tendency to worry excessively.
The above-mentioned eight signs are believed to be potential indicators of anxiety disorder. In addition to these signs, there can also be several other symptoms of the disorder, such as weakness, lethargy, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, hot/cold flushes, muscle tenseness, muscle twitching, and irregular heartbeat (palpitations). If you suffer from any of the symptoms of anxiety disorder, you must see a medical professional for receiving proper treatment to overcome the disorder and improve the overall quality of life.