What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is being worried or nervous. Anxiety is often normal. For example, many people are anxious when they're having money problems, trouble at work, or family difficulties.
However, you may have an anxiety disorder if:
You're anxious a lot of the time even when you aren't having problems or the problems aren't bad
The anxiety is so severe it interferes with your life
Having a little anxiety can help you focus, but having a lot makes it hard to do things well.
In addition to being anxious, you may feel short of breath, dizzy, and sweaty and have a fast heartbeat
Some medical problems can cause anxiety (for example, heart disease, lung problems, or an overactive thyroid gland)
Many medicines and drugs can cause or worsen anxiety (for example, amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, and corticosteroids)
People with anxiety are more likely than other people to have depression Depression Depression is feeling too sad or sluggish to do your daily tasks or take part in activities you usually enjoy. It’s normal to feel sad after something sad happens, such as a death or loss—depression... read more
Doctors treat anxiety disorders with medicine and therapy
What causes an anxiety disorder?
Doctors don't know exactly what causes anxiety, but the following make it more likely:
Family history of anxiety (it runs in families)
Stressful life event, such as a natural disaster or relationship breakup
What are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder?
Worry, fear, or panic
Trouble breathing, dizziness, and fast heart rate
How can doctors tell if I have an anxiety disorder?
Doctors examine you and ask questions about your symptoms. Doctors consider other disorders and diseases that have signs and symptoms similar to anxiety. If they don't find another cause, doctors diagnose you with an anxiety disorder if your anxiety:
Interferes with your ability to do daily tasks and activities
Has lasted a long time or keeps coming back
How do doctors treat anxiety disorders?
If your anxiety is caused or made worse by a medical problem or substance use, doctors will treat that.
Doctors treat anxiety disorders with:
Medicine, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)