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Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders: Introduction

Anxiety disorders include a group of common mental health disorders that are related to a heightened or extreme level of anxiety that is recurring or continuous. Short-term mild to moderate anxiety is a normal reaction to stressors in daily life and can help people to recognize and more effectively deal with everyday stressful situations, such as starting a new job or passing an exam. However, people with an anxiety disorder can experience anxiety without any stressful stimulus, or can experience anxiety due to a perceived stressor that may not exist. An anxiety disorder can also cause excessive anxiety reactions to a minor stressor or recurring anxiety to an event that has already happened.

Anxiety disorders include panic disorder and adult panic anxiety syndrome, in which a person experiences episodes of a crippling sense of terror and panic called panic attacks. Another common anxiety disorder is obsessive compulsive disorder, which is marked by obsessive thoughts that cause anxiety. People with obsessive compulsive disorder try to reduce their anxieties through ritual and repeated behaviors.

Post traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatizing event and is characterized by flashbacks of the terrifying event. A persistent fear of social situations is called social anxiety disorders disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder manifests as excessive worry and anxiety that is out of proportion to the actual situation. Phobias are anxiety disorders that are due to an excessive, irrational fear of certain objects or situations.

Anxiety and anxiety disorders can also be a symptom of, or coexist with, a wide range of medical and mental health conditions, such as drug addiction, Alzheimer's disease, hyperthyroidism, hypertension, psychosis, and hypoxia.

Anxiety disorders can manifest in one's mood, behavior, thoughts, and emotions. Symptoms include severe feelings of panic, dread, distress, anxiety, apprehension, restlessness, and/or trepidation. Anxiety disorders also often produce physical symptoms, including an elevation in heart rate, increased alertness, palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Anxiety disorders can seriously affect a person's ability to function effectively in daily life. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Making a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder begins with taking a thorough medical and psychiatric history, including symptoms, and completing a complete physical examination and a mental health exam. Tests are performed that can detect diseases and conditions that can coexist with or worsened symptoms of anxiety disorders. These include hyperthyroidism, hypoxia, and hypertension. A referral to a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health provider is generally made to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders.

It is possible that a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder can be missed or delayed because some symptoms can be associated with other conditions or because of the stigma associated with mental illness. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of anxiety disorders.

Treatment of anxiety disorders varies depending on the specific anxiety disorder, the severity, and a person's medical history, age, and general health. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of anxiety disorders. ...more »

Anxiety disorders: Anxiety is the experience of having worry, fear, or feelings of trepidation. Mild to moderate or occasion severe feelings of anxiety are normal reactions to stressors in daily life. Anxiety can manifest in one's mood, behavior, thoughts, and emotions. Although the experience of anxiety can be unpleasant, a normal amount of anxiety can serve to help people to recognize and more effectively deal with stressful situations, such as starting a new job or moving across the country.

Anxiety can also be experienced without any stimulus at all or due to a perceived stressor that may not exist, such as a child who is afraid of a monster in the closet at night or a straight-A student who worries about getting a failing grade. If anxiety rises to excessive levels or becomes recurring or continuous, it can develop into a mental health condition, called anxiety disorder. There are many types of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are multifaceted and can be difficult to recognize and differentiate from other medical conditions because they present with a wide variety of manifestations. Anxiety can also be a symptom of many medical conditions in addition to anxiety disorder. ...more »

Anxiety disorders: Symptoms

The symptoms of anxiety disorders are due to the body's reaction to stress called the fright, fight or flight response. This reaction developed in early human evolution as a means to increase alertness and readiness to react to dangerous stressors, such as the threat of a man-eating predator. When confronted with a stressor, the body's nervous system reacts by releasing ...more symptoms »

Anxiety disorders: Treatments

The first step to addressing anxiety disorders is to diagnose and treat any possible medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and hypoxia, which can worsen or trigger symptoms or mimic anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders can often be successfully treated with a multifaceted plan that includes psychotherapy, sometimes known as "talk therapy". In ...more treatments »

Anxiety disorders: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of an anxiety disorder may be missed or delayed for a variety of reasons. For example, people with an anxiety disorder may fear the stigma of or be embarrassed by mental illness and not seek treatment. People with chronic hypoxia due to COPD may become confused and unaware that hypoxia is worsening or coexisting with an anxiety disorder.

A diagnosis of ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Anxiety disorders

Treatments for Anxiety disorders

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Anxiety disorders:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders: Related Patient Stories

Anxiety disorders: Complications

Read more about complications of Anxiety disorders.

Causes of Anxiety disorders

More information about causes of Anxiety disorders:

Anxiety disorders: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Anxiety disorders

Parental fears about toddler behavior often unfounded: There are many behaviors in infants and toddlers that may give rise to a fear that the child has some form of mental health condition. In particular, there is a loss of...read more »

High rate of misdiagnosis of psychiatric disorders: The book "Preventing Misdiagnosis of Women" reports on studies that estimate that 41% to 83% of...read more »

Rare seizure-less epilepsy misdiagnosed as various conditions: A complex partial seizure disorder, such as temporal lobe epilepsy can be...read more »

Common asymptomatic heart disorder can cause anxiety-like conditions: Anxiety symptoms may be due to heart disorder - There is a reasonably common heart disorder called Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP), that often remains...read more »

Rare neurological disorder misdiagnosed as anxiety condition: Posterolateral sclerosis is an uncommon neurological disorder that can be misdiagnosed as an anxiety...read more »

Rare copper disease insidious and misdiagnosed: Wilson's disease (a form of copper overload) is a rare disorder that has a slow and insidious...read more »

Rare cancer hidden cause of panic symptoms: The rare cancer pheochromocytoma, an adrenal tumor, can initially have symptoms similar to panic disorder....read more »

Thyroid disorder misdiagnosed as anxiety disorder: The book "A Dose of Sanity" reports on a case where as woman was diagnosed with panic disorder, and had been taking...read more »

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability...read more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due...read more »

ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults. Some adults can remain...read more »

Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) often fails to be diagnosed correctly by primary care physicians. Many...read more »

Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with an eating disorder is female. The result is that men with eating disorders often fail to be diagnosed or have a delayed...read more »

Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be undiagnosed in teenagers. The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause...read more »

Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression) may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see ...read more »

Anxiety disorders: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Anxiety disorders

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Anxiety disorders:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Anxiety disorders, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Anxiety disorders: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Anxiety disorders

Prognosis for Anxiety disorders

Research about Anxiety disorders

Visit our research pages for current research about Anxiety disorders treatments.

Clinical Trials for Anxiety disorders

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Anxiety disorders include:

Statistics for Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders: Broader Related Topics

Anxiety disorders Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Anxiety disorders, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Anxiety disorders

Anxiety Disorders: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Everybody knows what itís like to feel anxious -- the butterflies in your stomach before a first date, the tension you feel when your boss is angry, the way your heart pounds if youíre in danger. Anxiety rouses you to action. It gears you up to face a threatening situation. It makes you study harder for that exam, and keeps you on your toes when youíre making a speech. In general, it helps you cope.

But if you have an anxiety disorder, this normally helpful emotion can do just the opposite -- it can keep you from coping and can disrupt your daily life. Anxiety disorders arenít just a case of "nerves." They are illnesses, often related to the biological makeup and life experiences of the individual, and they frequently run in families. There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with its own distinct features. They include generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. (Source: excerpt from Anxiety Disorders: NWHIC)

Anxiety Disorders: NIMH (Excerpt)

Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults.1 These disorders fill people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated. (Source: excerpt from Anxiety Disorders: NIMH)

Definitions of Anxiety disorders:

Apprehension of danger and dread accompanied by restlessness, tension, tachycardia, and dyspnea unattached to a clearly identifiable stimulus. - (Source - Diseases Database)

 

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