11 Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Many people experience anxiety at some point in their lives.

In fact, anxiety is a very normal response to stressful life events like moving, changing jobs or having financial troubles.

However, when symptoms of anxiety become larger than the events that triggered them and begin to interfere with your life, they could be signs of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders can be debilitating, but they can be managed with proper help from a medical professional. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step.

Here are 11 common symptoms of an anxiety disorder, as well as how to reduce anxiety naturally and when to seek professional help.

1. Excessive Worrying

One of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder is excessive worrying.

The worrying associated with anxiety disorders is disproportionate to the events that trigger it and typically occurs in response to normal, everyday situations.

To be considered a sign of generalized anxiety disorder, the worrying must occur on most days for at least six months and be difficult to control.

The worrying must also be severe and intrusive, making it difficult to concentrate and accomplish daily tasks.

People under the age of 65 are at the highest risk of generalized anxiety disorder, especially those who are single, have a lower socioeconomic status and have many life stressors.

SUMMARYExcessive worrying about daily matters is a hallmark of generalized anxiety disorder, especially if it is severe enough to interfere with daily life and persists almost daily for at least six months.

2. Feeling Agitated

When someone is feeling anxious, part of their sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive.

This kicks off a cascade of effects throughout the body, such as a racing pulse, sweaty palms, shaky hands and dry mouth.

These symptoms occur because your brain believes you have sensed danger, and it is preparing your body to react to the threat.

Your body shunts blood away from your digestive system and toward your muscles in case you need to run or fight. It also increases your heart rate and heightens your senses.

While these effects would be helpful in the case of a true threat, they can be debilitating if the fear is all in your head.

Some research even suggests that people with anxiety disorders are not able to reduce their arousal as quickly as people without anxiety disorders, which means they may feel the effects of anxiety for a longer period of time.

SUMMARYA rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking and dry mouth are all common symptoms of anxiety. People with anxiety disorders may experience this type of arousal for extended periods of time.

3. Restlessness

Restlessness is another common symptom of anxiety, especially in children and teens.

When someone is experiencing restlessness, they often describe it as feeling “on edge” or having an “uncomfortable urge to move.”

One study in 128 children diagnosed with anxiety disorders found that 74% reported restlessness as one of their main anxiety symptoms.

While restlessness does not occur in all people with anxiety, it is one of the red flags doctors frequently look for when making a diagnosis.

If you experience restlessness on the majority of days for more than six months, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

SUMMARYRestlessness alone is not enough to diagnose an anxiety disorder, but it can be one symptom, especially if it occurs frequently.

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