Many people experience occasional anxiety, which is quite normal. However, some people experience intense anxiety


Many people experience occasional anxiety, which is quite normal. However, some people experience intense anxiety that interferes with their daily functioning, a sign of an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder manifests in the form of intense and persistent fear and worry about everyday situations in life. At times, it manifests in repeated periods of sudden anxiety, fear, or worry that reaches a peak within minutes, often described as a panic attack.

Anxiety can interfere with daily functioning, causing panic that is difficult to control and can get out of proportion to the extent that it lasts a long time. Anxiety disorder symptoms may begin early during childhood or teen years and continue into adulthood. However, anxiety disorders differ from one person to another.

Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Whatever type of anxiety you experience, seeking help from a mental and behavioral health provider is advisable to help you cope with the situation and identify your triggers.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder

  • Feeling restless, nervous, and tense.
  • Increased heart palpitations.
  • Breathing rapidly.
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems.
  • Difficulty controlling worry and fear.
  • Having a tense sense of impending danger or panic.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything else apart from the present worry.
  • Experiencing the urge to avoid situations that trigger anxiety.

Causes of anxiety disorder

Although the causes of anxiety disorder aren’t fully understood, life experiences such as traumatic events are known to trigger anxiety in people with an anxiety disorder. Biological factors can also increase the susceptibility to anxiety. Let’s look at them.

Medical causes

In some people, anxiety may be associated with an underlying medical condition. Anxiety symptoms are the first sign of a medical illness in such cases. Some medical problems associated with anxiety include:

  • Diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Drug misuse or withdrawal.
  • Thyroid disease.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Withdrawal from alcohol or antianxiety medications.
  • Rare tumors.

In some people, anxiety can be a side effect of certain medications. An underlying medical condition could cause your anxiety if you do not have a family history of anxiety and have not experienced a traumatic event or anxiety in your childhood.

Risk factors of anxiety

Factors that increase your risks of developing anxiety disorder include:

  • Trauma.
  • Stress accumulation.
  • Other mental health disorders.
  • Stress caused by an illness.
  • Alcohol and drug use.
  • Family history of anxiety disorder.
  • Personality.

Failure to address anxiety problems early can cause them to worsen. It can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Poor quality of life.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Social isolation.
  • Imsomnia.

When to seek professional help

You should see a mental health expert if you experience constant signs of anxiety that lasts more than two weeks. See a mental health provider if:

  • Your anxiety, fear, and worry are difficult to control.
  • You are worrying too much that it impacts your work, school, relationships, and other aspects of your life.
  • You are experiencing signs of depression or have other mental health concerns that come with anxiety.
  • You believe that your anxiety could be associated with a mental health problem.

You have self-harm thoughts, behavior, or suicidal thoughts.