Clients with generalized anxiety disorder have recurring fears or worries, such as about health, family or finances, and they often have a persistent sense that something bad is just about to happen. The reasons driving intense feelings of anxiety can often be hard to identify. But the fears and worries are real and often keep individuals from focusing on work and daily tasks.
Why seek treatment for anxiety disorder?
When untreated, anxiety disorders can have debilitating consequences. For example, some clients who suffer from anxiety avoid any situation that they fear may be overwhelming and possibly cause a panic attack. Such avoidance can create problems by conflicting with job requirements, family obligations or other basic activities of daily living.
Clients who have an untreated anxiety disorder often struggle with other psychological disorders, such as depression, and have a greater tendency to abuse alcohol and other drugs. Their relationships with family members, friends and coworkers may become difficult. And their job performance may decline.
Skills that lower anxiety and stress
- Relaxation and Breathing Techniques
- How to Challenge Negative Self-Talk and Mistaken Beliefs
- Imagery Desensitization
- Changes in Lifestyle, Nutrition, and Exercise that Lower Anxiety
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Skills for Preventing and Coping with Panic Attacks
Signs and Symptoms: National Institute of Mental Health
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with generalized anxiety disorder display excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms.
Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:
- Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling the worry
- Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking; and feeling of impending doom.
Panic disorder symptoms include:
- Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
- Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
- Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
- Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
Social Anxiety Disorder
People with social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”) have a marked fear of social or performance situations in which they expect to feel embarrassed, judged, rejected, or fearful of offending others.
Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:
- Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
- Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
- Being very afraid that other people will judge them
- Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
- Staying away from places where there are other people
- Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
- Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
- Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around
Evaluation for an anxiety disorder often begins with a visit to a primary care provider. Some physical health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar, as well as taking certain medications, can imitate or worsen an anxiety disorder. A thorough mental health evaluation is also helpful, because anxiety disorders often co-exist with other related conditions, such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Anxiety Disorders are the most treatable of all disorders.