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Mental Health > Anxiety disorders
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What are anxiety disorders?
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Mental Health > Anxiety disorders

What are anxiety disorders?

Generalized anxiety disorder

Panic disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Phobias and fears

Compulsive hoarding

Anxiety symptoms

Is it anxiety or am I just stressed?

Is this anxiety or something else?

Is this anxiety or depression?

Panic attack symptoms: Am I having a panic attack?

Am I having a panic attack or a heart attack?

What causes anxiety disorders?

Anxiety symptoms: 8 surprising triggers

Anxiety risk factors

Older adults and anxiety

Anxiety and menopause

Treating anxiety

Therapy for anxiety

Anxiety therapy: different types of therapists

Choosing a therapist to treat anxiety disorders

Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety

Medications to treat anxiety disorders

Natural health products and supplements for anxiety

Lifestyle tips for managing anxiety

Food, diet, and anxiety: do's and don'ts

Panic attack coping strategies

Children and anxiety

How to recognize a child's anxiety symptoms

Helping your child cope with anxiety

Treating children's anxiety disorders

Separation anxiety

Tips for managing your child's separation anxiety

Selective mutism in children

Anxiety symptoms

Anxiety happens to all of us occasionally. But when someone has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), worry becomes excessive, pervasive, and long-lasting. When you have GAD, you may not be able to control your worries and anxieties - they begin to control you. Anxiety symptoms can affect you on multiple levels:

  • Anxiety can affect how you think and feel. Your thoughts may be clouded by doubts about the near and distant future, and a sense of doom that "something is bound to go wrong." You may also think that you cannot control your thoughts, and you may wonder if your worries will escalate to a point where you could "go crazy." Excessive worry is often associated with changes in feelings such as increased irritability, lowered mood, and demoralization.
  • Anxiety can affect how you behave. When you're constantly anxious, you may avoid situations that could trigger more stress and worry. You may even shrink from exposing yourself to day-to-day circumstances that could possibly provoke more worry, like reading newspapers or watching the nightly news. Your concentration may be affected, as anxieties and worries distract you from the things you should be focusing on. The feelings of irritability and moodiness that often accompany excessive worry can affect how you interact with others, negatively impacting your relationships.
  • Anxiety can affect you physically. In general, chronic worry can make you restless, disrupt your sleep, and even trigger or worsen gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea. In moments of extreme worry, you may feel panic-like physical symptoms, including rapid, pounding heartbeat; chest pain or discomfort; shortness of breath; sweating; trembling and shaking; a sense that things are "unreal"; dizziness and unsteadiness; and a feeling of choking. These physical sensations may lead to further worries that you could pass out or die from your anxiety.

If you think that you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, take a step toward resolving your worry. Know that even though anxiety may hijack your thoughts, rattle your nerves, and sap you of your energy, it can be managed. Explore ways that you can relieve anxiety through daily self-care or through therapy or medication.

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