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 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 ...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 psychotherapy, a ...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 ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Anxiety disorders
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symptoms of Anxiety disorders
Treatments for Anxiety disorders
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treatments for Anxiety disorders
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Anxiety disorders:
- Child Behavior: Home Testing
- Mental Health (Adults): Home Testing
Wrongly Diagnosed with Anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders: Related Patient Stories
Anxiety disorders: Complications
Read more about complications of Anxiety disorders.
Causes of Anxiety disorders
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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 fear 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 people who are treated
for psychiatric disorders,...read more »
Rare seizure-less epilepsy misdiagnosed as various conditions: A complex partial seizure disorder,
such as temporal lobe epilepsy
can be misdiagnosed as various conditions.
Some of the possible misdiagnoses...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 undiagnosed in...read more »
Rare neurological disorder misdiagnosed as anxiety condition: Posterolateral sclerosis is an uncommon neurological disorder
that can be misdiagnosed as an anxiety disorder....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 onset that can often fail...read more »
Rare cancer hidden cause of panic symptoms: The rare cancer pheochromocytoma, an adrenal tumor, can initially
have symptoms similar to panic disorder.
Its symptoms may...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...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 to speak.
This was...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 to various medical...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 undiagnosed, and indeed the condition has usually been...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...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...read more »
Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be
undiagnosed in teenagers.
The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause severe medical depression
to be overlooked.
See...read more »
Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression)
may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see symptoms of anxiety disorders).
Failure to diagnose these...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
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Hospitals & Clinics: Anxiety disorders
Research quality ratings and patient safety measures
for medical facilities in specialties related to Anxiety disorders:
Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »
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
Read more about the latest treatments for Anxiety disorders
Prognosis for Anxiety disorders
More about prognosis of 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:
See full list of 360
Clinical Trials for Anxiety disorders
Statistics for Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders: Broader Related Topics
Types of Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders Message Boards
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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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