What is Anxiety?

Everyone gets nervous or anxious from time to time. Mild, short-lived anxiety caused by a specific event can be considered "normal". For some people, however, anxiety becomes so frequent, or so strong, that it begins to take over their lives. But how can you tell if you need to be concerned? Anxiety comes in many different forms-such as panic attacks, phobias, and social anxiety-and the distinction between an anxiety diagnosis and "normal" anxiety isn't always clear.

Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms revolve around excessive, irrational fear and dread. The following is a list of physical symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder:

  • Trembling

  • Churning stomach

  • Heart palpitations

  • Numbness or "pins and needles" in arms, hands or legs

  • Restlessness

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Irritability

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep

  • Being easily startled

If your symptoms are causing you to suffer and/or are disruptive to your normal daily activities, then it may be time to talk to a professional.

Anxiety disorders are treatable.

In general, anxiety disorders are treated with medication, counseling or both. Treatment choices depend on the type of disorder, the person's preference, and the expertise of the clinician.

With proper treatment, many people with anxiety disorders can lead normal, fulfilling lives. It is advisable to seek help from professionals who have particular expertise in diagnosing and treating anxiety. Sometimes people must try different treatments or combinations of treatment before they find the one that works for them.

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