Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment

Everyone is nervous or anxious from time to time when participating in public speaking, for example, or going through financial difficulties. However, for some people, anxiety becomes so frequent, or so strong, that it begins to take control of life. How do you know when everyday anxieties cross the line into an anxiety disorder ? It’s not easy. Anxiety manifests itself in various forms, such as panic attacks, phobias and social anxiety, and the difference between the official diagnosis and “normal” anxiety is not always clear. However, there are several symptoms that may give rise to seek medical attention.    

Excessive anxiety

A hallmark of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the most widespread type of anxiety, will be excessive concern for everyday things, big and small. But what is this “excessiveness”? In the case of GAD, this means having persistent anxious thoughts most days a week for six months. In addition, anxiety should be so strong that it will interfere with everyday life and be accompanied by noticeable symptoms such as fatigue.  

Trouble sleeping

Problems with falling asleep or sleeping are associated with a wide range of health conditions, both physical and psychological. And, of course, it’s not uncommon to toss and turn waiting all night before a big speech or interview. But if a person notices that every night he lays awake for a long time, restless or worried about specific problems (for example, money), this may be a sign of anxiety disorder . According to some estimates, at least half of all people with GAD have trouble sleeping.  

Irrational fears

Sometimes anxiety is not generalized, but rather concentrated on a specific situation or thing, such as flying, animals or crowds. If fear becomes overwhelming, interferes with any action, and goes beyond actual risk, this is a sure sign of phobia, a type of anxiety disorder . Although phobias can be harmful, they are not obvious the rest of the time. In fact, they may not appear until a person encounters a specific situation and finds that he is not able to overcome his fear. A person who is afraid of snakes, for example, can live without problems for many years. But then suddenly his child wants to go camping, and he will realize that he needs treatment. 

Muscle tension

Constant muscle tension, no matter whether it consists of compressing the jaw, spinning fists or flexing muscles throughout the body, often accompanies anxiety disorders. This symptom can be so persistent and widespread that people who live with it for a long time may even stop noticing it after a while. Regular exercise can help keep muscle tension under control, but tension can break out due to injuries or other unforeseen events that disrupt a person’s training regimen.

Chronic indigestion

Anxiety can begin in the mind, but often manifests itself in the body through physical symptoms, such as chronic digestive problems. Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation and / or diarrhea. The syndrome is not always associated with anxiety, but these two diseases often occur together and exacerbate each other.


Social anxiety disorder is not always associated with public speaking being in the spotlight. In most cases, everyday situations, such as a one-on-one conversation at a party, or lunch by other people , provoke anxiety . In these situations, people with social anxiety disorder tend to feel that all eyes are fixed on them, and often blush, tremble, feel nauseous and sweating profusely. These symptoms can be so devastating that they make it impossible to meet new people and maintain relationships.

event_note February 9, 2020

account_box Winona Tse MD

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