Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by physical symptoms such as
Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. In fact, anxiety disorders as a group are the most common mental illness in America. Anxiety disorders can affect adults, children, and adolescents.
These disorders fill people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated. People who suffer from anxiety disorders typically struggle with difficult symptoms such as agitation, feeling "uptight," worry, and apprehension on a daily basis. These disturbing symptoms can become so severe that they interfere with normal daily activities. Sometimes anxiety disorders lead to restlessness, poor sleep and insomnia, trouble concentrating, feeling tense, a sense of dread, chest pain, lightheadedness, trouble breathing, hyperventilation, and even overwhelming panic with a feeling of losing control.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Causes of Anxiety
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Antisocial Personality Disorder
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Atrial Fibrillation vs. Ventricular Fibrillation (AFib vs VFib ECG Strips)
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (In Children and Adults)
Autism in children and adults is a developmental disorder, characterized by impaired development in communication, social...
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment...
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an illness where a person is overly preoccupied with some minor or imaginary flaw. People with...
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal...
Bullying is repeated physical or verbal aggression that involves an imbalance of power. Types of bullying include physical,...
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy,...
Approximately 40 million children suffer abuse every year around the world, and more than 1,500 children die of abuse in the U.S....
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder...
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...
Duck syndrome is a situation initially coined at Stanford University whereby a college student may seem to be calm on the surface...
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress...
Head and Neck Cancer
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Holiday Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Though the holidays are a fun time for most, for others, they're a sad, lonely and anxiety-filled time. Get tips on how to avoid...
Jet lag (desynchonosis) is a temporary disorder that results from travel across time zones. Symptoms include anxiety,...
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin...
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under...
Misophonia is defined as the hatred of sound. Symptoms of this condition include a negative emotional response to certain trigger...
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to suffer repeated obsessions and compulsions....
Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep....
Phobias are unrelenting fears of activities (social phobias), situations (agoraphobia), and specific items (arachnophobia). There...
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include...
Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include...
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted via the bite of an infected animal. Symptoms include fever, headaches, and...
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Fibromyalgia
Though rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, RA is an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia is a...
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that...
Separation anxiety disorder is a common childhood anxiety disorder that has many causes. Infants, children, older kids and adults...
Medical shock is a life-threatening medical condition. There are several types of medical shock, including: septic shock,...
Sick Building Syndrome
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or also referred to as sick building syndrome or environmental illness is the name given by...
Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea,...
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...
Suicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year,...
Other Causes of Anxiety
- Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription)
Examples of Medications for Anxiety
- alprazolam (Xanax, Xanax XR, Niravam) Anti-Anxiety Drug
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Ativan vs. Xanax
- clomipramine (Anafranil)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- diazepam (Valium, Diastat, Acudial, Diastat Pediatric, Diazepam Intensol)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- venlafaxine, Effexor XR (Effexor has been discontinued in the US)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
Get tips on therapy and treatment.