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Anxiety disorder: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Anxiety disorder is a normal emotion. You feel anxious at various occasions in your life, for example before taking any decision, before exams etc. and that is quite normal. But the feeling of anxiousness is continuous and is at an extreme level; it is something to worry about.

What is an anxiety disorder?

The term anxiety disorder means “a specific psychiatric disorder that involves extreme fear and worries”.

Anxiety disorder is a common psychological disorder. Anxiety disorder is as real and serious as any other physical disease such as heart diabetes and heart disease. Extreme and continuous anxiety can affect your social, work and family life.

Types of anxiety disorder

There are several types of  disorder, few are discussed below

Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: People with the generalized disorder show extreme and excessive fear and worry about something for most of the days. The fear and worry could be about anything such as work, family, health and everyday routine.

The symptoms of this Disorder are

  • Feeling of restlessness
  • Feeling of irritation
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty in concentration

Panic Disorder: In this type of disorder, people have sudden and unexpected panic attacks. These panics attacks can be triggered by anything like any situation, fear and object.

The signs and symptoms of panic attacks include

  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Increase in heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • Feel like being out of control
  • Feeling of choking

Separation Anxiety Disorder: People dealing with this have a fear of being separated from people they are attached with. They fear that something unwanted or bad will happen to their loved ones once they are parted. Separation anxiety disorder was thought of disorder of children, but adults also deal with this.

Selective Mutism: This is a rare type of anxiety disorder in which people cannot speak in public or social gatherings despite having normal language skills at home and with family. This disorder is common in children. There could be many reasons for selective mutism such as shyness, temper tantrums and embracement at social places. People diagnosed with selective mutism may also show other anxiety disorders.

Medication or substance-induced anxiety disorder: Use of certain medicines or withdrawal from some medications can trigger an anxiety disorder in some people. Anxiety disorder can also happen because of the use or withdrawal of certain illegal drugs.

Specific Phobia: People with a specific phobia have a fear of certain things and situations such as height, water, blood and some animals etc.

Social anxiety disorder: Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia. People having social anxiety disorder may feel extreme fear, worry and anxiety about social situations and gathering. They have the ear of being judged and feeling embraced in front of people about their anxiety. People with social anxiety disorder can feel uncomfortable in their workplace, school and colleges.

Agoraphobia: People with agoraphobia have the intense fear of being in the situation from where they cannot escape and cannot take any help. Such as the fear of being in an aeroplane, public transportation, being in crowded places and elevator.

Causes of Anxiety Disorder

The exact cause of anxiety disorder is still not known fully that what causes anxiety disorder to develop, but some factors are there that can cause anxiety.

The medical cause of Anxiety: Sometimes, anxiety can occur or linked to some health issues. Example of medical problems that could be linked to anxiety is

  • Heart diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid problems
  • Use and withdrawal of medicines
  • Respiratory diseases such as asthma
  • Bowel syndrome
  • Anxiety can be because of the side effect of certain medications.

There are more chances of having anxiety because of medications if

  • You do not have blood relatives with anxiety.
  • You did not have anxiety in your childhood, or you do not have the previous history of anxiety.
  • You do not avoid certain situations because of fear.
  • Certain events and situations do not trigger anxiety.
  • The anxiety that is not related to life events

Risk Factors: Certain factors also increase the risk of anxiety occurrence

If you have experienced any trauma in your life (as a child or adult), there are more chances of developing an anxiety disorder at some point in life.

  • Serious and prolonged illness can also cause anxiety disorder.
  • Alcohol and drug use can also develop anxiety.
  • Some personality types are more prone to anxiety disorder.
  • Anxiety disorder can also be inherited.
  • People with other mental disorder such as depression can also develop anxiety.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

The DMS-5 (The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder) has set the specific criteria that help the professionals and specialists to diagnose the disorder. The main symptom of anxiety disorder is extreme worry and fear. Symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder as well. Some of the common anxiety disorder symptoms are listed below

  • The feeling of fear and uneasiness
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Avoiding the things that trigger anxiety
  • Having gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • The feeling of being in danger
  • Problems in sleep
  • Tension in muscles
  • Feeling of nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Overthinking
  • Hyperventilation (breathing quickly and faster than normal)
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Cannot stay calm
Treatment of Anxiety

There are many treatments available for anxiety disorder that help to manage, reduce and cure the anxiety.

People either opt for counselling or medication depends upon nature.

Psychotherapy: This is a type of counselling. Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy. Patient talks to a trained mental health specialist about his/her thoughts, feelings and behaviour and get a suggestion for how to manage emotions and feelings and how these emotions can affect your behaviour.

Medications: This treatment is for those patients who have medium to severe anxiety. Doctor or psychiatrist does the diagnosis and prescribes medicines accordingly. It is not recommended to take any medicine without doctor’s prescription.

Frequently Asked Questions

1: Is anxiety a mental illness?

Occasional anxiety is OK. Anxiety disorder is different. Anxiety disorder refers to a group of mental illness that causes extreme and constant anxiety and fear.

2: Is there any herbal treatment for anxiety?

Kava, lemon balm, lavender, valerian and passionflower

3: What vitamin helps with anxiety?

Vitamin D

Vitamin B Complex


Omega 3

4: What is the natural treatment of anxiety?

Stay active

Do exercise

Have proper sleep


Stop taking caffeine

Stop alcohol and smoking

Eat healthily

5: Can you beat anxiety without medication?

Anxiety is a serious mental illness, but it can be treated without medications by changing the lifestyle, behaviour and thoughts along with a healthy diet.

*Note: The information provided in this article is based on academic research by and is not based on professional expertise. The causes, signs, symptoms and treatment may vary from person to person.


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