--> Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder | REVOMENTAL

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder


Everybody is afraid sometimes. When danger threatens, anxiety has an important protective function: it puts the body on alert so that it can react quickly. But worries and fears about the future, work or family can also protect: For example, from acting carelessly and getting into a difficult situation.

However, if fears get out of hand, they can become a burden. Those affected then worry almost constantly and about everything possible. When anxiety overshadows everything and doesn't go away at all, a generalized anxiety disorder (GAS) may have developed. Those who have this anxiety disorder usually know that their fears exceed a natural level, but cannot control them. It is difficult to overcome this condition on your own. However, various treatments can help.

symptoms of anxiety disorder. pict : pixabay


Generalized anxiety disorder can manifest both psychologically and physically. The psychological symptoms include persistent, unrealistic and exaggerated fears. The fears affect different areas of life. They are not a reaction to a threat, nor are they limited to specific things or situations. Because the anxiety can relate to all kinds of things or cannot be associated with specific occasions at all, experts refer to it as "generalized" anxiety.

For example, people with generalized anxiety disorder may worry one moment that their partner might have an accident on the way to work. The next moment, they worry that their child will get run over on the way to school; then, that they might lose their keys; and finally, that they will have a heart attack the next day. They worry about practically everything - big and small, and even completely trivial things. Many also fear anxiety itself or worry about worrying all the time. Constant apprehension significantly limits daily life and can darken one's mood. Especially if depression exists at the same time, an anxiety disorder can reinforce the feeling that life is no longer worth living.

In response to anxiety, the adrenal gland releases the hormone adrenaline. It speeds up many bodily functions - usually to increase alertness and responsiveness in the short term: The heart beats faster, breaths become short and shallow. In people with generalized anxiety disorder, this normally brief physical state of alarm, with a racing or pounding heart and shortness of breath, often lasts longer. It is then experienced as very unpleasant.

Possible further symptoms include drowsiness, nervousness or dizziness. Shaking, sweating, muscle tension and stomach discomfort are also common.

Feeling anxious all the time is exhausting and can lead to difficulty concentrating and sleeping.

If anxiety occurs only in certain situations, it is probably not generalized anxiety disorder. Sudden onset panic attacks are also not a feature of generalized anxiety disorder, but they can sometimes be added.

Causes and risk factors

The causes of generalized anxiety disorder are not yet fully understood. Both physical and psychological factors probably play a role. Some people with an anxiety disorder have experienced severe trauma in childhood or later in life, suffered losses, or had many punishing experiences, for example, severe family stress or ongoing extreme workload.

Sometimes a life crisis can cause anxiety that develops into a generalized anxiety disorder. There is also evidence that anxiety disorders are more common in some families. Sometimes an anxiety disorder is a consequence of another disorder - such as depression or panic disorder, or it is related to an addictive disorder. However, it can also occur for no apparent reason.


Generalized anxiety disorder is a common anxiety disorder. It is estimated that about 5% of all people receive this diagnosis during their lifetime. Women are affected twice as often as men. Anxiety disorder usually begins in middle adulthood - but sometimes it begins in childhood or not until senior years.


Usually, generalized anxiety disorder develops slowly. Anxiety and possible physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, do not initially stand out as signs of an illness. Only gradually do the symptoms increasingly restrict everyday life and well-being.

A pronounced anxiety disorder can be very persistent. It often takes many months or years to overcome it. Until then, however, those affected also experience phases of less intense anxiety.

In one study, about one in four sufferers had overcome their anxiety disorder after two years. In the long term, however, many people manage to overcome their anxiety. It often recedes with age anyway.


The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can resemble those of other mental illnesses such as phobias, panic disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In addition, many sufferers also have symptoms that are more consistent with depression.

The possible physical symptoms of generalized anxiety - such as rapid heartbeat - also occur with conditions such as hyperthyroidism or can be triggered by certain medications and drugs such as amphetamines ("speed").

Identifying a generalized anxiety disorder can therefore be difficult and take some time - especially if you initially seek help for physical symptoms, perhaps even in the emergency room. Sometimes only a physical symptom of the disorder is then treated, or only a single symptom such as sleep disturbances. However, through initial discussions in the context of psychotherapy, professionals are able to make the correct diagnosis. A "generalized anxiety disorder" is diagnosed when anxieties

- last for at least six months and persist most days during this period,

- become uncontrollable,

- are so distressing that they interfere with everyday life, and

- when they are associated with at least three physical symptoms - such as accelerated pulse, tremors, muscle tension or stomach discomfort.


There are several ways to better manage an anxiety disorder over time. These include:

- Psychological and psychotherapeutic treatments: These include methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy. With their help, you can learn to control and change your thoughts and fears.

- Relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation, as well as breathing exercises, can help people to relax and cope better with stress. They are also often used as part of psychotherapeutic treatments.

- Medications: For anxiety disorder, certain antidepressants are the main options. Some people also use herbal sedatives based on valerian or chamomile.

- Self-help: Self-help groups offer the opportunity to exchange ideas with other sufferers. It also helps some people to be well informed about the disease - whether with books, brochures or on the Internet.

Although no treatment method can be expected to provide a quick and easy "cure," the various procedures can ensure that symptoms are alleviated and that people are better able to cope with anxiety. This is often noticeable after just a few weeks. With patience and the help of a therapist, many people then manage to overcome their anxiety disorder over time.

Life and everyday life

Many people with generalized anxiety disorder experience that the disorder affects their professional and private everyday life and their personal relationships. For some, for example, the anxiety causes them to call in sick more often. Many try to hide their anxiety and therefore withdraw from other people. Some then stay at home a lot, where they feel safe. They thus try to avoid situations that could increase their anxiety and trigger or intensify physical symptoms.

It is often very difficult to deal openly with an anxiety disorder. Many hardly succeed in doing so, or only with a trusted person. With therapeutic support, however, it is often possible to open up to family members, for example, and to inform them about one's own illness. Many feel that seeking professional support, as well as help in their personal environment, is an important step toward overcoming their anxiety. Many people also find it helpful to remain as active as possible in everyday life despite their fears - for example, through sport or by looking after other people.



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REVOMENTAL: Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
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