Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. It can help you to cope. The anxiety may give you a boost of energy or help you focus. But for people with anxiety disorders, the fear is not temporary and can be overwhelming.
Anxiety disorders are conditions in which you have anxiety that does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including
The cause of anxiety is unknown. Factors such as genetics, brain biology and chemistry, stress, and your environment may play a role.
The risk factors for the different types of anxiety disorders can vary. For example, GAD and phobias are more common in women, but social anxiety affects men and women equally. There are some general risk factors for all types of anxiety disorders, including
The different types of anxiety disorders can have different symptoms. But they all have a combination of
Using caffeine, other substances, and certain medicines can make your symptoms worse.
To diagnose anxiety disorders, your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You may also have a physical exam and lab tests to make sure that a different health problem is not the cause of your symptoms.
If you don't have another health problem, you will get a psychological evaluation. Your provider may do it, or you may be referred to a mental health professional to get one.
The main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy (talk therapy), medicines, or both:
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
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