Anxiety Disorders: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Anxiety is a natural human feeling, as many people feel anxious and nervous when facing a problem at work, before an exam, or taking an important decision. In spite of this, anxiety disorders differ and can cause feelings of worry, fear or panic attacks that prevent a person from leading a normal life.
In this article, we will discuss anxiety disorders, common types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.
Anxiety disorder
Anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by the feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

Anxiety Disorders: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is normal for a person to feel anxiety or panic, from time to time. But if the feeling of anxiety is repeated in close proximity without any real reason, to the extent that it impedes the normal daily course of life, then this person is likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by important feelings of anxiety and fear. Anxiety is a reaction to current events and worries about future events.  
APA describes a person with an anxiety disorder as having "recurring thoughts or fears".

Anxiety disorders occur when the reaction is not commensurate with what can normally be expected in a situation. These feelings may cause physical symptoms, such as heart rate and vibration syndrome. The duration or intensity of the feeling of anxiety may sometimes be disproportionate to the original trigger, or stressor. 
Physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and nausea, may also become apparent. 

Anxiety disorders affect how we feel and behave and create physical and psychological symptoms. Mild anxiety is unclear and disturbing, while severe anxiety can be seriously affected by day-to-day living. 

The reason for anxiety disorders is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 
Risk factors of anxiety disorders include a history of child abuse, a family history of mental disorders, and poverty.  Anxiety disorders often occur with other psychiatric disorders, particularly major depressive disorder, personality disorders, and substance use disorders.

Diagnostic symptoms usually need to be present for at least 6 months, should be higher than what can be expected for the condition, and reduce the work. 

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are many known anxiety disorders, including the following types:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by excessive anxiety, stress, and fearful expectations. People with GAD find it difficult to control his anxiety and feel that their mind works 24 hours.
This disorder may be accompanied by insomnia, ease of fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritation, muscle strain, sleep disturbance, excessive and unrealistic tension, even if the cause of concern is simple or absent.

Panic disorder: A person with panic disorder experiences sudden and repeated panic attacks without warning. 
Other symptoms of a panic disorder include sweating, chest pain, and heart palpitations as well as a feeling of suffocation that may make one feel that he is experiencing a heart attack or is about to lose his mind.

Social anxiety disorder: Social anxiety is a feeling of anxiety and the patient's self-awareness about daily social situations, as anxiety often focuses on the patient's fear of the judgments of others or behaving in a way that may cause embarrassment or lead to the mockery of others. often reveals specific physical symptoms, including sweating, blushing, and difficulty speaking. 

Specific phobias: A phobia is a severe fear of a certain thing or situation, such as snakes, heights, or flying.
The level of fear is usually disproportionate to the situation and may cause the person to avoid common everyday situations.
A phobia is the only major category of anxiety disorder in which fear and anxiety are triggered by a specific stimulus or condition in all cases. When people come in contact with their fear, they can experience shortness of breath, trembling or heart palpitations. 
The normal phobia is flying, blood, water, highway driving, and tunnels.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Post-traumatic stress is caused by a traumatic or painful event, such as physical or sexual assault, the sudden death of a loved one, or a natural disaster.
People with this type of disorder often have constant and frightening thoughts and memories from the past, and they also tend to be emotionally lost.
Common symptoms include preventive behavior, hypersensitivity, flashback, anger and depression. 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): A person with obsessive-compulsive disorder has persistent thoughts or fears that drive him to perform certain rituals or customs, and those annoying thoughts are called obsessive, and habits are called compulsions.
An example of this is a person who has an unjustified fear of germs, and that is why he regularly washed his hands.

Separation anxiety disorder: Separation anxiety disorder is a natural stage in the development of the lives of infants and young children. 
Young children often suffer from a separation anxiety disorder, but most children outgrow this disorder at about the age of 3 years. 

A separation anxiety disorder may appear severe or prolonged and interfere with a child's school or other daily activities or leat to panic attacks or other problems. Often it is a child's concern about his or her parents, but it may also be about another relative's caregiver.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?

anxiety disorder
Common symptoms of anxiety disorder
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Symptoms of anxiety disorders differ from one case to another, in terms of different types or severity. The most common symptoms may include:
  • Feelings of panic, fear of something and confusion.
  • Continual memories of the previous painful and traumatic events
  • Thinking about painful experiences and recalling them frequently
  • Unconscious obsessive thoughts 
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleep disorder
  • Shortness of breath
  • High circulation in a heartbeat
  • Ritualistic or ritualistic behaviors such as repeated washing of the hands.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Tingling and numbness of hands and feet
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Seeing bad dreams or nightmares
  • Loss of ability to calm and stability.
  • Cold or sweating hands
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inability to remain calm or quiet
  • Muscle strain
An anxiety attack does not completely eliminate the person who develops it, but it leaves a feeling of anxiety, to a certain degree.
In all areas of his life, he may feel anxious that he lives in a constant state of stress.

A person may have symptoms of anxiety in the following way, he may feel very concerned about his personal security and that of his loved ones, or he may generate a feeling that something bad will happen, even if there is no perceived risk.

An anxiety attack usually begins at a relatively early age, as symptoms of generalized anxiety develop very slowly, more often than in other anxiety disorders.
Most people with generalized anxiety disorder cannot remember the last time they felt better, quiet and calm.

What are the Causes of Anxiety Disorders?

The cause of anxiety disorders is not yet well-known, but these disorders, like other mental illnesses, are not caused by weakness or defect in the personality or improper upbringing. 
As scientists continue their research related to mental illness, it has become clear that many of these disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including biological factors and environmental stresses.

Anxiety disorders, like any other disease such as diabetes, may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the body.
Studies have shown that severe or prolonged stress may alter the balance of chemicals that control mood in the brain.
Anxiety disorders are conditions inherited in the family, that is, they are transmitted from one or both parents, as is the case for hair and eyes. 
Moreover, certain environmental factors, such as exposure to a major or tragic event, may cause anxiety disorder in people who are genetically predisposed to infection.

Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders
There are several factors that can increase your risk of anxiety disorder, and they include:

Chaotic childhood: Children, who have experienced difficulties or hardships in their childhood, including witnessing traumatic events, experiencing neglect, substance abuse disorders and addiction, or untreated mental illnesses, are more likely to develop this disorder.

Physical Illness: People who have had serious illnesses, such as cancer, may have an anxiety attack. Concern about the future and its implications, treatments and the economic situation - all of them can be a heavy psychological burden.

Psychological stress: The accumulation of psychological tension, as a result of depressive and stressful situations in life, may generate a sense of acute anxiety. 
For example, a disease that requires absenteeism, which results in a loss in wages and income, can cause psychological stress, and thus anxiety disorder.

Personality disorders: People with certain personal characteristics may be more likely to develop anxiety disorders. 
People with psychological needs that are not properly available, such as having an unsatisfactory emotional relationship, may feel insecure, making them more likely to develop anxiety disorders.
Moreover, some personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, may be classified as a generalized anxiety disorder.

Genetic factors: Some studies indicate that there is a genetic basis (source) for anxiety disorder that causes it to be transmitted (genetically) from one generation to another.

How is Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of anxiety disorders depends on the appearance of the symptoms. 
If there are symptoms of anxiety disorders, the doctor begins with the evaluation of patients by asking them about their history and physical examination to detect any physical illness associated with the appearance of the symptoms. 

Although there are no specialized laboratory tests to diagnose an anxiety disorder, the doctor may use tests of different types to look for the disease that causes the symptoms. 
In the absence of any satisfactory indication, the patients are referred to a psychologist or a mental health specialist who has been specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illness. 

Psychiatrists and psychologists use the interview and evaluation method that is specifically designed to assess whether a person is suffering from an anxiety disorder or panic disorder.

Doctors rely on the patient's statements regarding the severity and duration of the symptoms - including any problems with daily life. 
The doctor then determines whether the symptoms of the patient and the degree of incapacity to function indicate an anxiety disorder or panic disorder.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

treatment of anxiety disorder
What is the most effective treatment for anxiety disorders?

Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are real disorders that require treatment. Fortunately, the last two decades have seen great progress in treating mental illness. 
The treatment of anxiety disorders is comprised of two main therapies, drug therapy, and psychotherapy, separately or both.

Periods of trial and error may be required in order to determine which treatment is most appropriate and effective for a particular patient and which treatment the patient feels comfortable with and safe.
Although the exact treatment method depends on the type of disorder, it is possible to use one or more of the following treatments for most cases of anxiety disorder:

Drug Therapy
Various types of drugs are available to alleviate the side effects that accompany anxiety disorder, including:

Anti-anxiety drugs: Benzodiazepines are soothing substances that have the advantage of relieving anxiety within 30 - 90 minutes. The drawback is that they may cause addiction if taken for more than a few weeks.

Antidepressants: These drugs affect the functioning of neurotransmitters that are known to have an important role in the development of anxiety disorders. 
The antidepressants used to treat anxiety disorder include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa.
Consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications or herbal remedies, as many of them contain chemicals that will worsen symptoms.

Indicative psychotherapy addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which mental health professionals help the patient by reviewing strategies to understand and deal with his disorder.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Patients suffering from anxiety disorders often engage in this type of treatment in which they learn to recognize and change patterns of thinking and behaviors that lead to disturbing feelings.


Anxiety disorder has several types such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific fear, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, selective mutism and all types of phobias. In the stage of habituation, it needs to be addressed moreover. 
Most cases of anxiety disorder or fear can be treated. The therapist must confront patients with situations of fear such as indoor, animal, and objects. 
Neurodegenerative preparations for good luck do not have the ability or effectiveness to make the patient familiar. 
Biofeedback, progressive relaxation, hypnosis, and self-movement exercise complement the therapeutic presentation with some special forms of anxiety disorders or phobias. 
The goal is to restore the quality and efficiency of life to the affected person in the shortest possible time.

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