Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Psychological Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Although anxiety disorders are purely mental conditions, affecting the patients’ way of thinking and perception, not all of the anxiety disorder symptoms are of psychological nature. Being in a state of constant anxiety, worrying, fear and confusion brings up to the surface a lot of physical symptoms as well. Those physical symptoms are commonly present in a whole bunch of different and completely unrelated illnesses and medical conditions but they are also adding their toll to the misery of anxiety disorder sufferers.
When just a few of those symptoms show up at the same time, depending on their severity and on the type of anxiety disorder, they can easily lead to the victims’ worst nightmare which is called “panic attack”.
Below are listed some of the most common symptoms of which anxiety disorder sufferers complain. Not every individual experiences all of the symptoms and at the same time the combination of anxiety disorder symptoms will vary from one person to another.
Overwhelming, constant worrying and tension - Minor and sometimes completely unimportant issues and tasks can suddenly become a big concern. Patients can spent countless hours, going in circles, trying to think of the best solution and the best timing to undertake the action and to resolve the “problem”. At the same time they might think that everyone around is watching their every move, making them even more anxious, confused and clueless.
Decreased confidence and increase in self-consciousness - People start analyzing themselves and their actions in a very critical and sometimes disrespectful way. Nothing they do is good enough any longer and they feel as they are losing the every single “battle” with the outside World. Even the simplest tasks which a patient really enjoyed doing before and in which they might have a very good track record (like driving a car for example) can suddenly become a burden and a person will start questioning his/her ability to complete the task.
Avoidance - Places and situations in which people experience some fear, discomfort or embarrassment may soon find themselves on an “unsafe list” and some anxiety disorder sufferers will proclaim them as “no go zone” and try to avoid them as the plague. If not recognized and treated at the very beginning this behavior could easily develop into a severe agoraphobia and the person suffering from it will very fast have a very long “unsafe list”. It is not unusual for some victims to become “prisoners” of their own homes or, even worse, their own rooms.
Fear of impending disaster - Seeing the outcome of every otherwise very normal and ordinary situation in a disastrous and the worst possible way. Fearful thoughts like: How we are going to escape if the house catches on fire while everyone is sleeping? -or- Will my loved ones safely arrive to and from school or from work?. Thoughts similar to these arise in situations where there is absolutely nothing that would even distantly suggest that something shouldn’t be just fine.
Irritability - Most people suffering from anxiety disorders get irritated very easily. A simple denial, disapproval or a negative critique could make them very angry or annoyed. It will also take much longer for them to forget it and to move on.
Difficulty in concentration - Concentrating on the routine, everyday jobs and tasks suddenly may become very difficult and sometimes even impossible. Lack of concentration might be present even during the supposedly relaxing and fun times like watching a movie or listening to the favorite piece of music.
Insomnia - Minds of the anxiety disorder sufferers’ work over the clock so it is not surprising that for them to get enough, good quality, sleep is usually very hard to achieve. Nightmares and even panic attacks can occur during the sleep which makes it almost impossible to properly rest the exhausted bodies and minds. Insomnia, and therefore, tiredness and frequent yawning are integral parts of many anxiety disorder victims.
Sensibility to noise - Some anxiety disorder sufferers become very sensitive to noise, particularly, but not limited to, excessive noises like loud music or a TV set, noise from a busy street and even loud talking. On the other hand the complete silence might also annoy them. When the anxiety starts to build up it is not unusual for the patient to hear “imaginary noises” which sometimes can feel like listening to several radio stations at the same time. Anxious people are also easily scared by sudden, unexpected noises.
Confusion and disorientation - Sufferers might feel very confused from time to time and sometimes, especially when anxiety reaches its peak or during the panic attack, they can feel completely lost and disorientated although those episodes are usually a result of fear and they don’t last for very long time.
Derealisation - Patients have a perception that everything around them is unreal. The situations which they find themselves in and all the surrounding objects seem just like a dream or a product of their imagination.
Depersonalization - Loss of personal identity. People might be physically present at some place but in their own minds they feel like they are actually not there. Walking through a busy shopping mall an anxiety disorder sufferer has a feeling of being invisible, completely isolated and not a part of the surrounding crowd.
Fear of dying, going insane or losing control - Anxiety disorder victims are deeply concerned about their negative or confusing thoughts and they might become completely obsessed with them. This is just adding more fuel to the fire. Even the slightest discomforts and disturbances might raise the alarm and the patient will think that the worst is coming.
Difficulty in swallowing
Epigastric (stomach) discomfort
Frequent urge to use the toilet
Over breathing or fast, shallow breathing
Feeling of chest constriction or tightness
Difficulty in inhaling
Feeling of pain over the heart and chest area
Excessive sweating and palm sweating
Hot flashes or chills
Tremors, trembling body and shaky hands
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