Anxiety Disorders: The Complete Guide to Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Anxiety is a common reaction of the body to stress and threat. Feeling anxious at times is common but if it is persistent and interferes with your daily activities, then you may have an Anxiety Disorder. It is caused by various factors such as chemical imbalance, heredity, and social and environmental factors, and its symptoms can be treated by medication and psychotherapy.

Are you someone who struggles with Anxiety? If yes, then this blog is going to help you understand everything about Anxiety, such as its types, diagnosis, and treatment, and how to find the anxiety relief you need.

Anxiety is one of the leading mental health problems around the world, and its incidence is still rising, especially among youth.

One of the common reasons for the rise in anxiety cases is the burden of uncertainty in almost every aspect of modern life. Uncertainty is not the cause of anxiety, but it provides breeding grounds for it.

What Is Anxiety? – Overview Of Anxiety Disorder

First things first! What are Anxiety and Anxiety disorders? Let’s understand the concepts.

Anxiety is a natural and common response of the body to stress. It is a feeling about what’s to come. 

A common example of anxiety is giving a speech in front of a huge crowd or going to a job interview may cause some people to feel nervous and fearful.

But, if your Anxiety is severe, lasts for at least 6 months, and interferes with your daily life, you may have an Anxiety Disorder.

Living with Anxiety Disorder can cause physical stress to the body, especially to the cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, respiratory, and immune systems, and it can put a lot of strain on relationships. 

The estimated percent of U.S. adults with various anxiety disorders (in any given year) are as follows –

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder – 0.9% (Adolescents) 2.9% (Adults)
  • Selective mutism – 0.03-1.9% ( Europe, Israel, U.S.)
  • Specific phobia – 8%-12% (U.S.)
  • Panic Disorder – 2%-3% (U.S.)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder – 7% (U.S.)
  • Agoraphobia – 1 – 1.7% (Adults and Adolescents, worldwide)
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder – 4% (Children); 1.6% (Adolescents); 0.9%-1.9% (Adults) [3].

Family and friends may feel stressed because they don’t want their loved ones to suffer, and they do not always know how to help.

Anxiety can make you feel detached from yourself and from reality.

Few Facts About Anxiety – What you need to know

  • Women tend to suffer from Anxiety Disorders more than men.
  • According to the National Institute Of Mental Health (NIMH), Anxiety Disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States between the ages of 18-54 [1].
  • It is estimated that approximately 264 million adults around the globe have Anxiety, according to the World Health Organization,
  • Job performance and productivity can be negatively impacted by Anxiety Disorders.

Types Of Anxiety Disorders

There are various types of Anxiety Disorders that are discussed below – 


Agoraphobia is a type of mental health condition characterized by an irrational fear of not being able to escape a situation.

People with Agoraphobia tend to avoid specific situations and places. For example, they might avoid public transport, and in severe cases, some people may become housebound.

GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most common type of Anxiety Disorder that causes a constant feeling of fear, worry, and being overwhelmed by everyday situations.  Anxiety might have no clear trigger or cause, and it can cause irritability, muscle tension, and trouble sleeping.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder causes intrusive and distressing thoughts that a person may manage by carrying out repetitive behaviors that provide temporary relief. For example, they repeatedly wash their hands in fear of contamination.

Panic Disorder

Before talking about panic disorder, we must first understand the term ‘panic attack.’

A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense fear when there is no real danger or apparent cause.

Many individuals have just one or two panic attacks in their lives, but if you’ve had unexpected and recurrent panic attacks, then it can be a condition called panic disorder.

Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is a rare disorder where a person can’t speak in a certain situation and is typically very shy.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that happens to some people who have experienced a traumatic event, causing them to feel shocked, helpless, or fearful. It can have long-term effects on the person, including difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and flashbacks.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, is a medical condition characterized by the fear of being judged or negatively evaluated by others in performance or social situations.

Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety is an Anxiety Disorder that is typically common in infants and little children between the ages of six and seven months and three years, but it may manifest itself in adolescents, older children, and adults pathologically.

An individual with separation Anxiety experiences excessive fear or anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (for example, a caretaker, parents, siblings, or significant other).


A phobia is a persistent fear of a situation, activity, or specific object that generally does not cause any harm. Patients are aware that their fear is excessive, but they can’t cope with it, and these fears cause them to go to extreme levels to avoid what they fear. Examples are fear of spiders, fear of public speaking, etc.

What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety?

The Anxiety symptoms vary based on the type of Anxiety Disorder one has. Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder include the following –

Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety:

Anxiety can impact the physical health and result in-

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cold or sweaty hands
  • Numbness in the hands or feet.

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Inability to be calm and still
  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeatedly washing hands.

Mental symptoms:

  • Nightmares
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
  • Feeling fear, panic, and uneasiness
  • Repeated flashbacks or thoughts of traumatic experiences.

Anxiety Symptoms In Women

Anxiety attack symptoms do not vary based on the gender of the person. Symptoms visible in men may also be seen in women. However, according to the website Caron, the following signs of anxiety are reported in women. 

  • Increase in heart rate.
  • Insomnia and Sleeping disorder.
  • Difficulty in focus and concentration.
  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Irritability.
  • Rapid breathing. 
  • Lethargy. 
  • Sweating. 

What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety Disorders are like other types of mental illnesses in that they don’t come from character flaws or personal weaknesses.

Some of the possible causes of anxiety are as follows.

Chemical Imbalance 

Long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance in the brain that controls your mood, and experiencing a lot of stress for a long period of time can cause Anxiety Disorder. 

Environmental Factors 

Experiencing trauma might lead to or trigger Anxiety Disorder, especially in individuals who have inherited a higher risk of developing it. 


Anxiety Disorders are sometimes caused by heredity because they run in families, and one can inherit them from their parents (both or one parent) [2].

Some social factors may also cause Anxiety disorders, such as –

  • Displacement.
  • Poverty.
  • Degradation relating to climate change.
  • Loss of cultural heritage. 

What Are Anxiety Attacks?

A panic or anxiety arrack is an intense fear that occurs suddenly and peaks within a few minutes. Often, the initial trigger of the fear is unknown. 

The physical symptoms of an anxiety attack may mimic a heart attack. Often the fear of being judged may also trigger panic attacks in people. 

Some common symptoms of panic or anxiety attacks are-

  • Shaking.
  • Chest Pain.
  • Nausea. 
  • Feeling Of Choking.
  • Sweating.
  • Fear Of Dying.
  • Numbness. 
  • Feeling Of Being Doomed.
  • Hot Flashes.

Who Is At Risk Of Experiencing Anxiety Disorders?

The chances of experiencing anxiety are higher in the following people-

  • People with a history of negative life events.
  • Having personality traits such as nervousness and shyness. 
  • Stressful corporate or work life. 
  • People with thyroid disorders are more prone to anxiety. 
  • 25% of people with anxiety have a first-degree relative suffering from a similar condition. 

How Do Anxiety Disorders Affect Children?

It is normal for a child to feel anxious at a certain point. Situations like an upcoming test, thunderstorm, or a dog barking can cause fear and worry in children. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 9.4% of children between the age group of 1 to 17 years suffer from anxiety [4]. 

Often such children find it hard to stop thinking about all their fears. They get stuck in their worries, making it hard for them to enjoy their daily activities, like playing, going outside, going to school, and even falling asleep. 

Anxiety disorder symptoms in children include- 

  • Headaches
  • Anger
  • Sleep Issues
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability 
  • Stomach Pain
  • Fear.

How Is Anxiety Diagnosed? 

If you have symptoms of Anxiety Disorder, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions regarding your medical history. They may also run physical tests to rule out other health conditions that might be the leading cause of your symptoms.

No lab test can diagnose Anxiety Disorders specifically.

If your doctor doesn’t find any physical health issues behind your symptoms, they may send you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another mental health specialist. Those doctors will use testing and tools and ask you a set of questions to find out if you have an anxiety disorder.

The United States Preventive Service Task Force recommends screening for anxiety in children and adolescents ages 8 to 18 years and major depressive screening in adolescents ages 12 to 18 years.

Treatment For Anxiety Disorder

The two main anxiety treatments are psychotherapy and medication. One may benefit the most from the combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatment is best for you.


Also known as psychological counseling or talk therapy, psychotherapy is an effective treatment for anxiety that involves working with a therapist to lower anxiety symptoms.

CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is an effective form of psychotherapy for Anxiety Disorders. It is a short-term treatment that focuses on teaching specific skills to improve the symptoms of anxiety and gradually return to the activities that an individual avoided because of anxiety.

CBT includes exposure therapy, in which an individual gradually encounters the situation or objects that trigger their anxiety symptoms so that they can gain confidence and manage the situation.

Various types of drugs are used to relieve symptoms of Anxiety Disorder, depending on the type of disorder one has.  For example:

  • Certain antidepressants (Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most commonly prescribed medication for anxiety disorders).
  • Anti-anxiety medication called buspirone.
  • In certain situations, a doctor can also prescribe other types of sedatives (benzodiazepines) or beta blockers. These medicines can provide short-term relief from the symptoms of anxiety and are not intended for long-term use.

Note –

Talk with your doctor about the benefits, risks, and possible side effects of medications.

Treatment For Anxiety Attacks

Natural Remedies- Coping Mechanisms Of Anxiety

Here are some strategies that one can try to help manage anxious feelings.

  • Try relaxation techniques such as meditation and Mindfulness.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Make sleep your priority.
  • Limit the intake of Alcohol.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Develop a support network.
  • Make time for things you enjoy.
  • Get Outside and breathe.
  • Seek professional help if needed.

Self-Relief Tips To Consider To Get Relief From Anxious Feelings

Change spaces – 

When you’re anxious, one of the most powerful things that you can do is change your physical setting. 

For example, if a message triggers your anxiety, consider stepping away from your phone. Stepping outdoors and getting some fresh air can also do wonders.

Try To Engage Your Senses-

Whenever you feel anxious, try engaging your senses. For example, you can make some tea and try to name what you’re tasting.

Another thing that you can do is use essential oils, such as lavender oil. Put lavender oil on your wrists, put them up to your nose, and take three deep breaths – inhale through your nose and exhale out of your mouth. 

Some of the other essential oils that are believed to stimulate calm are chamomile, ylang-ylang, bergamot, and peppermint.

Speak About Your Anxiety-

Anxiety is a common mental illness, and talking about it can be quite challenging, but opening up about it can help you feel less lonely and discover new ways to overcome it.

Anxiety prevention

If there is even a remote chance to prevent suffering from anxiety, we should give it a try. 

Preventing Anxiety In Children And Teens

The causes of anxiety in Children and teens can be different from most adults. Some of the health approaches that may help in preventing the disorder in such a population are listed below. 

  • Ensuring that children are not bullied in their school. 
  • Promoting youth violence prevention. 
  • Encouraging mental health programs at school and the local community. 
  • Following child maltreatment prevention methods. 

As a parent, communicate with your child and ensure that they feel free to opening about their issues. 

In Adults 

  • By avoiding places, people, and situations that may trigger your anxiety symptoms. 
  • Limiting the use of coffee. 
  • Being mindful of situations that cause stress. 
  • Talking to your friends and family for support.
  • At work, you can find solace in your coworkers.  

Severe Anxiety Disorder And Its Treatment Option- Wrapping Up

Anxiety can affect all areas of your life, from your relationships to how you think about yourself, but always keep in mind that there is help available for this condition.

Fortunately, Anxiety is treatable, and many people can manage their Anxiety symptoms through medication, lifestyle changes, healthy coping strategies, and therapy.


What are Anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health disorders that cause feelings of fear and anxiety, including phobias, selective mutism, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized Anxiety disorder, and Social Anxiety disorder.

What are the different types of Anxiety disorders?

The different types of Anxiety disorders are generalized Anxiety disorder, Social Anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, selective mutism, phobias, panic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What are the symptoms of Anxiety disorders? What causes Anxiety disorders?

The physical symptoms of Anxiety are dry mouth, nausea, shortness of breath, muscle tension, heart palpitation, cold or sweaty hands, and numbness or tingling in the hands or feet; The behavioral and mental symptoms of Anxiety are trouble sleeping, inability to be calm and still, ritualistic behaviors such as repeatedly washing hands, nightmares, obsessive thoughts, feeling uneasiness, fear, panic, and repeated flashbacks or thoughts of traumatic experiences. The causes of Anxiety are social factors, chemical imbalances, heredity, and environmental factors

How are Anxiety disorders diagnosed?

Mental healthcare professionals use the DSM, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to diagnose Anxiety Disorders. Each disorder in the list of DSM-specific symptom criteria must be met by a person to be diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder.

What are the treatment options for Anxiety disorders?

The two main treatment options for Anxiety disorder are psychotherapy and medications.

Can anxiety disorders be cured?

Anxiety is not curable completely, but one can manage its symptoms through medications and psychotherapy.

How can I cope with Anxiety disorders?

Here are a few tips for coping with Anxiety disorders -
  • Be physically active
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Sleep well
  • Socialize
  • Keep a journal
  • Perform deep breathing exercises

Can Anxiety disorders be prevented?

No, Anxiety disorders cannot be prevented.

How long does it take to overcome an Anxiety disorder?

Anxiety disorders can last from a few months to many years, depending on the person.

What is GAD, and what are its symptoms?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes a persistent feeling of being overwhelmed, fearful, and worried about everyday things. Its symptoms are restlessness, being easily fatigued, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, heart palpitation, headaches, stomachaches, irritability, and difficulty falling or staying asleep.

What is the difference between Anxiety and Anxiety disorder?

Anxiety is a common response of the body to stress that usually subsides. When you’re no longer stressed, but if your Anxiety lasts for 6 months or more and interferes with your daily life, then it is termed an Anxiety disorder.


  1. Anxiety Disorders - Facts and Statistics, adaa

  2. Anxiety Disorder, Cleveland Clinic.

  3. What are Anxiety Disorders? Psychiatry.

  4. Everything You Need to Know About Anxiety, healthline.

Related Post

Medical Disclaimer

The website contains evidence-based information relating to various medical conditions and their treatment options.

The information, including but not limited to graphics, texts, and other material on this website, is for informational purposes only. No content published on the LearnTheDosage website is intended to substitute for professional diagnosis, medical advice, or treatment options.

To put it in simple words, there are 206 bones, 10 common medical conditions, and four major blood groups; this means that everyone has a distinct body type and medical condition. Therefore, the medical content we write may not be applicable to all situations; consult your doctor before taking any medication.

Our mission is to help you better understand the medications your doctor prescribes.