When we think of anxiety, most people envision feelings of nervousness or worry. While these are characteristics of what it feels like to be anxious, the effects of an anxiety disorder go far beyond mere apprehension.
Anxiety can manifest in many different ways, depending on the particular disorder, such as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Phobia-related disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Just to name a few. All anxiety disorders, however, have certain signs and symptoms in common.
Key Warning Signs of Anxiety
People who experience anxiety disorders feel intrusive feelings of fear. They may be mild or intense but will occur most days of the week for six months or more. These fears become so overwhelming that they interfere with the person's ability to function. As a result, the quality of relationships, social activities, and overall satisfaction with life decline.
In the throes of an anxiety disorder, you may make repeated, unsuccessful attempts to resolve these fears. Many sufferers turn to a substance such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco -- or engage in self-destructive behaviors such as overeating -- in their attempts to manage anxiety symptoms. Drug use may relate to anxiety disorders, as both a cause and an effect.