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Anxiety: Symptoms and Signs

Anxiety can present as a combination of a number of different symptoms. Broadly classified, they include emotional symptoms, physical symptoms and symptoms experienced when in social situations.

Emotional symptoms of anxiety

The most common type of anxiety disorder is generalised anxiety disorder. Patients who suffer from this condition experience constant restlessness, irritability, constant worry, lack of patience, inability to concentrate and easy distractibility. These psychological symptoms can have a big impact on the day to day lives of patients.

In patients with OCD, the constant compulsions can become quite worrying and frustrating. Despite their best efforts, patients find it very difficult not to perform the tasks they are compelled to do. In social phobias, patients tend to feel very uncomfortable in social situations, and can behave rather erratically and inappropriately as well. Patients with post traumatic stress disorder can live constantly in fear.

Physical symptoms of anxiety

There are different physical symptoms that patients with anxiety can present with. These include chest pain, headaches, palpitations (racing heart beat), dry mouth, abdominal pain, breathlessness, choking sensation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and tingling and numbness in the arms and legs. These often occur in combination with each other, and can cause significant distress to the patient.

There can be other physical symptoms as well. These include difficulty sleeping at night, constant restlessness, body and muscle aches and change in menstrual periods’ regularity. Patients can experience a loss of libido and sex drive.

Social symptoms of anxiety

Social symptoms refer to symptoms that patients can experience that can affect their social life. In essence, the emotional symptoms can have a significant impact on patients with anxiety, and have a direct relationship to a person’s social well being. Phobias can impact daily activities of patients, and can eventually affect the way they live. Patients can refuse to go to shopping malls due to fear of escalators. Agarophobia describes fear of closed and open spaces, and can make moving around very difficult when with a group of people. The symptoms can be triggered in any public place, such as a restaurant, elevator, cinema and on public transport (buses, trains, flights).

Anxiety disorders can be riddled by a variety of symptoms - and as is seen in the discussion above, they can occur in combination with each other and negatively impact the lives of patients. Strategic treatments can help patients get rid of the triggers and contributory factors, and will help the recover from this condition.

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