What are anxiety disorders?
Rocketclips, Inc./ShutterstockThey're a mental health issue driven by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear. These feelings are so persistent or strong that they interfere with a person's daily activities, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The disorders impact about 40 million adult Americans; anxiety-related issues are the most prevalent mental illness in the United States. The disorders tend to start in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood, and they're more common in women than in men.
Check out these tips for recognizing and managing anxiety disorders.
9nong/ShutterstockHyperthyroidism—overactive thyroid—raises your metabolic rate, which can lead to symptoms like a rapid heart rate and weight loss, reports the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor can diagnose the condition with a blood test, and then advise you on the best course of treatment.
I'm friday/ShutterstockCardiac symptoms like angina—heart pain—and arrhythmias—uneven heart rate—can trigger anxiety symptoms, says Randi E. McCabe, PhD, a clinical psychologist at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton in Canada and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry of Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Canada. Be sure to see a doctor right away if you shortness of breath or excessive fatigue along with heart pain, Dr. McCabe warns, though don't assume the worst: Doctors at the Montreal Heart Institute reported in the American Journal of Medicine that about a quarter of 441 patients who came to the ER because of chest pain were suffering from panic disorder, not a heart ailment. Learn more about what causes anxiety.
Lack of sleep
Mita Stock Images/ShutterstockWhile insomnia itself can be stressful, poor sleep can increase your risk of anxiety: A study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychology found that sleep deprivation increases depression and general distress. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), sleep deprivation and chronic insomnia can cause an anxiety-related disorder.
AnggunFaith/ShutterstockHigh or low blood sugar can set you up for anxiety, says Dr. McCabe. Research published in Medical Science Monitor suggests that 32 percent of people with type 2 diabetes will be diagnosed with an anxiety-related disorder.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Bangkoker/ShutterstockApproximately one in five adults in the United States has IBS, according to the ADAA, and they point out that the colon is, in part, controlled by the nervous system—which of course is uniquely sensitive to stress. Anxiety may also creep in when people fear their condition and how it limits their life—not feeling safe in public, for example, because they may not be able to make it to a restroom on time, says Dr. McCabe. Here's what everyone should know about coping with anxiety.
Click and Photo/ShutterstockThe shortness of breath and wheezing people get during an asthma attack can drive up the risk of anxiety, reports the American Psychological Association. "Your existing anxiety may be triggered by the internal sensations that come along with an anxiety attack," says Robert Duff, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and author of the Hardcore Self Help book series.
A neurological disorder
sirtravelalot/ShutterstockWell in advance of other symptoms, anxiousness can signal conditions such as brain tumors and temporal lobe epilepsy, according to a report in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychodynamics. Researchers from Italy and Buffalo found that patients can develop anxiety disorders years before doctors diagnose a neurological issue.
NatchaS/ShutterstockYour red blood cells deliver oxygen to muscles, and when you run low—or the cells aren't working properly—you can end up feeling fatigued. Your pulse may increase to help make up the oxygen loss, and that can create a sense of anxiousness. Don't miss these 14 things people living with anxiety will understand.
Gita Kulinitch Studio/ShutterstockZinc helps maintain the immune system, heal wounds, and support normal growth—and if you're low, numerous studies suggest the deficiency could make you feel anxious. The mineral helps support calming substances in the brain. A vitamin B12 deficiency may also increase anxiety since the nutrient helps support a healthy nervous system, according to Psychology Today.
Learn about these ten trusted home remedies for anxiety relief.