Anxiety disorders are the commonest type of psychiatric disorders. Although there is a high prevalence of anxiety disorder cases, these cases are often undertreated and underrecognized. Anxiety disorders include conditions where there is excessive anxiety, fear, and behavioral disturbances. Examples of anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, specific phobias, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and more.
Anxiety disorders are thought to be caused by several factors such as genetic vulnerability and biopsychosocial factors where these factors interact with trauma, stress, and other situations to result in symptoms. Genetic factors can significantly influence the risk for anxiety disorders. In combination with environmental factors, such as trauma, can increase the risk of anxiety disorders. While some are resilient to stress, there are also those who are vulnerable to stress therefore precipitating an anxiety disorder.
Depending on the specific anxiety disorder, the symptoms can vary. The treatment for anxiety disorders usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. In the United States, anxiety disorders are the commonest type of psychiatric disorders with a lifetime prevalence of 28.8 percent among the adults. By the age of 11 years old, social anxiety disorder is seen in 50 percent and by 20 years old it is seen in about 80 percent. Social anxiety disorder is also a risk factor for depressive illness and substance abuse. It has been estimated that the estimated lifetime prevalence rates for anxiety disorders range from 4.1 to 6.6 percent for generalized anxiety disorder, 2.3 to 2.7 percent for panic disorder, and 2.6 to 13.3 percent for social phobia.
Anxiety Disorder Sign #1: Palpitations
Palpitations are often defined as the perception and awareness of the abnormal cardiac muscle contractions which may be irregular, too fast, or too slow. Tachycardia is a term used to describe a heart rate of 100 beats per minute or more while bradycardia describes a heart rate of 60 beats per minute or less.
Palpitations can be seen in panic attacks, anxiety disorders, structural anomalies of the heart, and more. It is often associated with dizziness, breathlessness, sweating, headaches, chest pain, and syncope. Examples of conditions that can cause palpitations include asthma, hyperthyroidism, renal disease, the use of caffeine, alcohol consumption, and more.
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