Living with Chronic Pain

Do I have anxiety disorder?

Source: WebMD

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health disorders that may disrupt normal day to day functioning. Worry and fear may be persistent and overwhelming, but with proper treatment people may be able to return to a fulfilling life.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Panic disorder may cause a feeling of terror that occurs without warning. With a panic attack, you may experience sweat, have chest pain, and feel irregular heartbeats.

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, occurs when an individual feels overwhelming self-consciousness due to everyday social situations.

Specific phobias occur when an person feels intense fear due to a specific object or


Generalized anxiety disorder may cause unrealistic emotions including worrying and tension for little or no reason.

Symptoms include panic, fear, sleep problems, not being able to stay calm and still, cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dry mouth, nausea, tense muscles, and dizziness.

Treatments and Therapies

Medications such as antidepressants may prove beneficial in treating anxiety disorders. These include Lexapro and Prozac. Anticonvulsant medications as well as low dose antipsychotic drugs may be added to help with other treatments. Anxiolytics also help to lower anxiety including Xanax and Klonopin.

Psychotherapy may address the emotional reaction to mental illness. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people recognize and change thought patterns that trigger anxiety or panic.

Managing Symptoms

Lowering your consumption of food and drink that contains caffeine may help as caffeine is a mood altering drug.

Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and getting better sleep will also aid in improving your mood.

Sleep problems are often associated with anxiety disorder. Being well rested and following a bedtime routine may help with relaxation.

The following are the symptoms of anxiety:

  • Indecisiveness is very common amongst people with anxiety. Worrying and nervousness when choosing between options or even making the simplest decision can prove to be very difficult for them. This symptom is often unrecognized, but mental health professional can detect these signs.

  • The physical manifestation of mental stress can take the form of fatigue irritability and headaches. Stressful situations may make them claustrophobic. They may also suffer from twitching, trembling and frequents aches and pain across the body.

  • Profuse sweating is another common symptom of anxiety. Sweating without activity or exertion is your body signaling that something is wrong. Variation in physiological changes causes chemical changes and anxiety is caused due to the same reason.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) has been known to cause shortness of breath, palpitations, and light-heartedness, and can even cause you to pass out. Anxiety attack involves feeling that you cannot breathe. Gradual and slower deeper breathing can help relieve this symptom

  • Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic indigestion, and diarrhea are some extreme symptoms that may occur for people with anxiety. These are often characterized by cramps, stomach aches, bloating and as well as constipation. Though IBS is not a sure sign of anxiety, they often co-occur.

  • Difficulty with falling asleep, known as insomnia is a symptom of anxiety. If this condition prevails over a long period and a person lies awake during the night without any proper reason, then it is a sign of GAD. About 50% of people with anxiety report problems with sleeping.

  • People with GAD suffer from over thinking about events that have not even happened. The fixation upon the outcome of events and thinking of all what ifs, even if it regarding mundane routine things such as traveling to work, may cause people with anxiety to worry excessively. In such extreme cases seeking professional help is recommended.

  • Overthinking causes restlessness and causes difficulty in concentrating. The distracting ‘what if' thoughts can lead to half finished work, a restless energy that is difficult to shake off, and moving around and about needlessly. This results in lower productivity with work and affects personal relationships as well, which is why this condition needs to be treated either with psychotherapy or medication.
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