Occasionally experiencing anxiety is a normal part of life. People with anxiety disorders have frequent intense, excessive, persistent worry, and fear about daily situations. Anxiety disorders often involve repeated episodes of sudden, intense feelings of anxiety, fear, or terror, reaching a peak within minutes (panic attacks).
Feelings of panic or anxiety can interfere with daily activities and often impact many areas of functioning, are challenging to control, out of proportion to the actual event, and can last a long time. Those suffering may sometimes avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. Symptoms may start during childhood or teen years and continue into adulthood.
Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder. You can have more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs treatment.
Whatever form of anxiety you have, treatment can help
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety