What is anxiety?

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a very common psychiatric disorder. Many people with anxiety experience physical symptoms that range from mild to severe. The three classifications of anxiety include anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other related disorders, and trauma and stress or related disorders.

The most common anxiety disorder is social phobia, where one fears being in certain social situations.

Anxiety becomes a troublesome response when it is inappropriate to the circumstances we encounter or interferes with normal daily activities. When a meeting, a deadline, or a family problem sets us on edge. Our bodies signal “danger”—but physical action is rarely appropriate.

Instead, we endure the unpleasant sensation of a rapid heartbeat and tensed muscles, often while having to smile at the “opponent” who sits across the desk or the dinner table. We are all able to handle occasional bouts of unreleased anxiety, but if the anxiety doesn’t go away, or if it recurs frequently, it can lead to serious health problems.

People who exposed to prolonged anxiety—those who are going through a divorce, for example, or who are subject to intense pressures at work—often suffer from high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems, skin disorders, mood swings, depression, and many other conditions. The effects of anxiety can also make any existing health problems much worse. Sometimes people feel the symptoms of anxiety even when they’re not facing a serious challenge or danger.

People with anxiety disorders are vulnerable to the same health problems as anyone else with prolonged anxiety. They may also experience extreme states of nervousness and worry, called panic attacks. During a panic attack, the heart pounds and breathing becomes rapid or difficult.


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See also: “Anxiety Symptoms, Causes and Testing Techniques



Sufferers may break into a cold sweat, experience tingling in the extremities, or feel dizzy and weak. Although panic attacks rarely last long—they can take anywhere from a few seconds to half an hour—they are quite frightening.

There are three main classes of medications used to treat anxiety. They include antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), and venlafaxine (Effexor). Another common category are the benzodiazepines such as clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and buspirone (Buspar).

Lastly there are beta-blockers, which are commonly used to treat cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure but are also used to reduce anxiety. A common one is propranolol (Inderal). Of course, all these medications have potential side effects that range from headaches, dizziness, poor memory, and insomnia to weakness. These drugs are not supposed to drink on a long-term basis.

If you suffer from prolonged anxiety, whether as a result of an anxiety disorder or from a major unresolved source of tension. You can take certain steps to ease your symptoms.



As you employ these complementary healing strategies, it’s also important to rule out any underlying physical causes. Disorders like low blood sugar, hormone imbalance, heart problems (mitral valve prolapse). The clinical depression can lead to the symptoms of anxiety, as can nutritional deficiencies.

Certain substances can also create anxiety or make it worse. Caffeine is perhaps the most notorious tension-inducing chemical, but sugar, food allergens, nicotine, alcohol, environmental toxins and allergens, and other substances can be just as potent.