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Anxiety: Introduction

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear or trepidation. Mild, moderate or occasional, short-term severe anxiety is a normal reaction to stressors in daily life. Although anxiety can be unpleasant, it is a normal reaction to an environmental stressor, and a mild to moderate amount of anxiety can help people to recognize and more effectively deal with stressful situations, such as starting a new job or passing an exam. Anxiety can also be experienced without any stimulus at all or due to a perceived stressor that may not exist, such as when a child is afraid of a monster in the closet.

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

If anxiety is at an extreme level or becomes recurring or continuous, it may be due to or can develop into a mental health condition, called an anxiety disorder. Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, in which a person feels a crippling sense of panic. Agoraphobia is excessive anxiety that occurs when a person is in open spaces or public places. People with obsessive compulsive disorder try to reduce their anxieties through ritual and repeated behaviors.

Post traumatic stress disorder occurs after a traumatizing event and is characterized by flashbacks of the terrifying event. A persistent fear of public social situations is called social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder manifests as excessive worry and anxiety that is out of proportion to the actual situation.

Anxiety can manifest in one's mood, behavior, thoughts, and emotions. Symptoms of anxiety can be mild to severe. Mild symptoms include a slight elevation in heart rate and increased alertness. More severe symptoms can include severe feelings of panic, palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of anxiety.

Making a diagnosis of the underlying cause of excessive anxiety 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 medical causes of anxiety, such as hyperthyroidism, hypoxia, and hypertension. A referral to a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health provider is often made to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety related to an anxiety disorder or other mental health condition.

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

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

Anxiety: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the underlying cause of excessive anxiety 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 of their condition.

A diagnosis of ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Anxiety:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Anxiety. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Anxiety: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Anxiety

Home medical tests possibly related to Anxiety:

Causes of Types of Anxiety:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Anxiety:

Review causes of types of Anxiety in more specific categories:

Review causes of more specific types of Anxiety:

Anxiety: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Anxiety, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Anxiety Treatments

The first step to addressing excessive anxiety is to diagnose and treat any underlying medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and hypoxia.

There are many ways to reduce, even eliminate the symptoms of anxiety that are not caused by an untreated medical condition. The most effective strategy is to address anxiety in a variety of ways. Taking inventory of ...Anxiety Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Anxiety may include:

Review further information on Anxiety Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Anxiety

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Anxiety may include:

Stories from Users for Anxiety

Real-life user stories relating to Anxiety:

Message Boards for Anxiety

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Anxiety or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Anxiety:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Anxiety. Some of these are listed below :

  • Blood tests
    • Thyroid function test - to rule out hyperthyroidism.
    • Serum insulin - is elevated in insulinoma.
  • Urine tests
    • 24 hr urinary catecholamines - to rule out phaeochromocytoma.
    • Drug screen - if indicated to rule out drugs of abuse as cause of anxiety.
  • more tests...»

Medications or substances causing Anxiety:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Anxiety as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Anxiety:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Anxiety as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Orphenadrine and dextropropoxyphene interaction
  • Orphenadrine and co-proxamol interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Adrenalin interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Ana-Guard interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Ana-Kit interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Bronitin Mist interaction
  • more interactions...»

Anxiety: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Anxiety may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Anxiety

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Anxiety:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Anxiety. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Anxiety Assessment Questionnaire (52 listings)

Anxiety: Deaths

Read more about causes and Anxiety deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Anxiety

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, more »

Various mental health symptoms caused by rare epilepsy: Temporal lobe epilepsy is a less common form of epilepsy that does not have the typical physical seizures. Patients can suffer from symptoms such as 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 people. A relationship or more »

Rare neurological disorder misdiagnosed as anxiety condition: Posterolateral sclerosis is an uncommon neurological disorder that can be misdiagnosed as an anxiety disorder. Symptoms such as peripheral 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 to be diagnosed. Copper builds up in the liver and in the brain, usually in the 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 include anxiety, panic, sweating, increased 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 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, 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 overlooked more »

Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) often fails to be diagnosed correctly by primary 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 diagnosis. See misdiagnosis of eating disorders or symptoms of 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 more »

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

Anxiety: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Anxiety

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Anxiety:

Anxiety: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Anxiety: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Definitions of Anxiety:

A relatively permanent state of anxiety occurring in a variety of mental disorders
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Unpleasant, but not necessarily pathological, emotional state resulting from an unfounded or irrational perception of danger; compare with FEAR and CLINICAL ANXIETY.
- (Source - CRISP)

Feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness that may occur as a reaction to stress. A person with anxiety may sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heart beat. Extreme anxiety that happens often over time may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)

Organs affected by Anxiety:

The list of organs typically affected by Anxiety may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Anxiety

The list below shows some of the causes of Anxiety mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Anxiety?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Anxiety. Of the 895 causes of Anxiety that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 18 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 32 causes are "common" diseases
  • 8 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 2 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 14 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 861 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Anxiety:

The following list of conditions have 'Anxiety' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Anxiety or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z #













  • Kakorrhaphiophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Katagelophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Kenophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Keraunophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Kinetophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Kleptophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Knoiophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Kopophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Kramer-Pollnow disease ... anxiety
  • Kynophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread













  • Xanax withdrawal ... anxiety
  • Xanthophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Xenophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Xerophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread



  • Zelophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Zemmiphobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread
  • Zoophobia ... feeling of panic, feeling of terror, anxiety, feeling of dread

Conditions listing medical complications: Anxiety:

The following list of medical conditions have Anxiety or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.










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Causes of Anxiety Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Anxiety based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Anxiety?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Anxiety, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    Classifications of Anxiety:

    Subtypes of Anxiety:

    Nervousness (73 causes), Fear (366 causes), Anxiety disorder (30 causes), Severe anxiety (3 causes), Apprehension (8 causes), Increased anxiety (6 causes), Chronic anxiety (15 causes), Phobia (25 causes), Agoraphobia (22 causes), Panic (388 causes), Anxiety disorder in pregnancy (20 causes), Anxiety in children (20 causes), Anxiety in pregnancy (26 causes), Anxious frantic appearance (12 causes), Anxiety due to labyrinthitis (6 causes), Labyrinthitis (9 causes), Constant state of apprehension (12 causes), Hydrophobia (11 causes), Hypochondriasis (18 causes), Mild to moderate anxiety (13 causes), Nervousness in pregnancy (27 causes), Phobic disorder (6 causes), Generalised anxiety disorder (14 causes), Akathisia (22 causes), Sudden onset of anxiety (19 causes), Sudden onset of anxiety in children (15 causes), Sudden onset of anxiety in children due to psychiatric conditions (6 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Anxiety:

    Common symptoms (8589 causes), Behavioral symptoms (4608 causes), Emotional symptoms (2080 causes), Society problems (1785 causes), Personality symptoms (4029 causes), Psychiatric symptom (971 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes)

    Symptoms related to Anxiety:

    Depression (629 causes), Moodiness (133 causes), Fear (366 causes), Emotional symptoms (2080 causes), Anxiety disorders (30 causes), Agitation (238 causes), Nervousness (73 causes), Shyness, Sadness (20 causes), Depressive symptoms (629 causes), Mood disorders (6 causes), Antianxiety drugs, Withdrawl symptoms, Panic attack (26 causes), Heart palpitations (566 causes), Fatigue (3235 causes), nausea (2564 causes), chest pain (1053 causes), shortness of breath (1528 causes), stomach aches, headaches (2433 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Anxiety

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Anxiety and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Anxiety:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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