Anyone can experience anxiety at some point in their life. For instance, it may present as a mild or severe sensation of fear or worry in the face of a stressful situation (i.e. job interview). However, anxiety can be the main symptom of several psychiatric disorders (anxiety disorders) including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobia-related disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc.
In these conditions, anxiety is more than a temporary sensation. Generally, it involves intense and excessive worry or fear concerning everyday situations, sometimes even without specific external stimuli. Moreover, this symptom is usually persistent and it interferes with a person’s daily activities (i.e. relationships, work).
It is important to understand that although the term “anxiety attack” is used widespread, it is not an official medical term. In fact, it is not referenced in the authoritative guide on mental disorders known as the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-V). Unlike with panic disorder (“panic attacks”), which is referenced in the DSM-V, there’s not one set of recognized symptoms for anxiety attacks. Instead, the term commonly refers to a flare-up of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Importantly, “anxiety attacks” may share several signs and symptoms with “panic attacks”; however, they will likely be less severe.
1. Difficulty Controlling Feelings of Worry
Most of us have experienced worry more than once in our lives. It is normal to worry about things like money, health, or family issues. In fact, it can sometimes help us avoid, anticipate, or solve potential problems. However, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can experience extreme and persistent worry about a number of things and shift rapidly from one concern to another. Importantly, this sensation is very disproportionate to the impact of events.
Usually, people with generalized anxiety disorder find it hard to control worrying and nervousness. In reality, it can cause substantial distress in social, work, or other areas of their life. If you find yourself experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, don’t hesitate to ask for help and seek professional attention.