It is typical of anyone to feel anxious once in a while; however, people with anxiety disorders have an intense and constant worry about everyday events. Usually, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of a panic attack, whereby you experience sudden and intense fear or terror that accelerates or reaches a peak in minutes. Panic attacks or anxiety feelings are difficult to suppress or control and can last a long time. Fortunately, Bethesda women’s & reproductive psychiatry offers treatment to help you cope or manage your anxiety.

Symptoms of anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety may vary from person to person, but common signs and symptoms include:

  • Restlessness
  • Having a sense of impending danger
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation or breathing rapidly
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • The urge to avoid your anxiety triggers

Types of anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder causes persistent worry over activities and events – event everyday routine issues. The concern is usually not in proportion to the actual circumstances and is difficult to control. It may also affect how you feel physically. Most people with a generalized anxiety disorder may have other anxiety or depression.

  • Agoraphobia is anxiety whereby you fear and avoid certain places or situations that may trigger panic attacks, leaving you helpless and embarrassed.
  • Panic disorder. A panic disorder is whereby you experience repeated episodes of sudden and intense feelings of fear or terror that reach a peak quickly. You may have symptoms like a heart attack such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat. When you have a panic attack, you may live in constant fear of it happening again; therefore, you may avoid places or situations in which they have occurred.
  • Social anxiety disorder involves intense fear, anxiety, and avoidance of social places or situations due to embarrassment. People with social anxiety disorder usually feel self-conscious and are concerned about being viewed negatively or judged by others.
  • A specific phobia causes significant anxiety when exposed to a particular object or situation; therefore, you avoid it. Some people have phobias of blood, creeping insects, and large water bodies. In others, phobias can trigger a panic attack.

If your anxiety stems from an underlying medical condition, you may experience panic and intense anxiety majorly solely because of the physical health problem

What causes anxiety?

The exact cause of anxiety remains unclear, but life experiences such as traumatic events can trigger anxiety. In other cases, anxiety may result from an underlying health issue; sometimes, anxiety signs and symptoms indicate a health problem. If your anxiety is possibly due to a medical illness, your doctor may recommend tests to look for signs of a problem. Examples of anxiety-related medical conditions include diabetes, heart disease, drug misuse or withdrawal, chronic pain, and thyroid problems.

Although anxiety can affect anyone, some factors increase your risk for this disorder. For example, drug and alcohol use and stress build-up put you at risk of anxiety. Trauma, certain personalities, and other mental disorders also predispose you to anxiety.

If you have any anxiety disorder, visit your specialist at Washington Center for Women’s and Children’s Wellness (WCWCW) to improve your quality of life. 

By Alexander James

Beau Alexander James: Beau, a mental health advocate, shares personal stories, coping strategies, and promotes mental health awareness and understanding.