11 Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

11. Irrational Fears

Extreme fears about specific things, such as spiders, enclosed spaces or heights, could be a sign of a phobia.

A phobia is defined as extreme anxiety or fear about a specific object or situation. The feeling is severe enough that it interferes with your ability to function normally.

Some common phobias include:

  • Animal phobias: Fear of specific animals or insects
  • Natural environment phobias: Fear of natural events like hurricanes or floods
  • Blood-injection-injury phobias: Fear of blood, injections, needles or injuries
  • Situational phobias: Fear of certain situations like an airplane or elevator ride

Agoraphobia is another phobia that involves fear of at least two of the following:

  • Using public transportation
  • Being in open spaces
  • Being in enclosed spaces
  • Standing in line or being in a crowd
  • Being outside of the home alone

Phobias affect 12.5% of Americans at some point in their lives. They tend to develop in childhood or the teenage years and are more common in women than men.

SUMMARYIrrational fears that interrupt daily functioning may be a sign of a specific phobia. There are many types of phobias, but all involve avoidance behavior and feelings of extreme fear.

Natural Ways to Reduce Anxiety

There are many natural ways reduce anxiety and help you feel better, including:

  • Eating a healthy diet: Diets rich in vegetables, fruits, high-quality meats, fish, nuts and whole grains can lower the risk of developing anxiety disorders, but diet alone is probably not enough to treat them.
  • Consuming probiotics and fermented foods: Taking probiotics and eating fermented foods have been associated with improved mental health.
  • Limiting caffeine: Excessive caffeine intake may worsen feelings of anxiety in some people, especially those with anxiety disorders.
  • Abstaining from alcohol: Anxiety disorders and alcohol abuse are strongly linked, so it may help to stay away from alcoholic beverages.
  • Quitting smoking: Smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Quitting is associated with improved mental health.
  • Exercising often: Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of developing an anxiety disorder, but research is mixed on whether it helps those who have already been diagnosed.
  • Trying meditation: One type of meditation-based therapy called mindfulness-based stress reduction has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in people with anxiety disorders.
  • Practicing yoga: Regular yoga practice has been shown to reduce symptoms in people diagnosed with anxiety disorders, but more high-quality research is needed.

SUMMARYConsuming a nutrient-dense diet, quitting psychoactive substances and implementing stress-management techniques can all help reduce symptoms of anxiety.