What are the Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?


Under the anxiety disorder classification there are several different types of anxiety disorders. The more common ones that we see and treat are typically either panic disorder, which is in an anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, where someone is afraid to leave their house, and a diagnosis that is referred to as unspecified anxiety. It is important to recognize that under the single heading of anxiety disorder there are several different types delineated based on specific criteria.

But interestingly enough, with almost all anxiety disorders there will be a certain level of:

Fear and Panic
Fear associated with a situation, environment, or with a life event. So even though there are some clear differences between, for instance, social anxiety and panic anxiety, what those two things have in common is anxiety and that their physiological symptoms, like the heart racing, ruminating thoughts, very fear-based types of thinking and emotions.
Co-Existing Conditions
Each person responds differently when they feel anxious. Some people internalize their anxiety while others externalize their anxiety. It is quite important to observe a patient over a period of time who report anxiety, simply because sometimes disorders can present themselves as something else. Disorders can be camouflaged, if you will. It's not unusual for us to have women who come in who report a long history of depression. What they have failed to realize is that they also have a co-existing anxiety disorder. In time the clinician may begin to see that in some instances that anxiety actually preceded their symptoms of depression. Often we see that because an anxiety disorder left untreated will increasingly the make person more and more incapacitated. As they become more incapacitated they begin to feel more and more helpless and hopeless about getting better. Then they are less likely to take certain risks, and they become more isolative. Recognizing any co-existing disorder can help to treat the person better comprehensively.
Changes in Appetite
Anxiety can create either a decrease in appetite or an increase in appetite.

These three symptoms in particular are also symptoms that find when you're looking at depression. That's why it is so important with anxiety disorders and with depression disorder to comprehensively assess an individual, and furthermore to observe them over a period of time in order to increase the likelihood that you accurately are diagnosing them.

There are specific diagnoses, mental health diagnoses fall under axis 1. It is possible for a person to have more than one mental health diagnosis. so it would be possible to have a primary diagnosis of depression disorder NOS (not otherwise specified), but for that individual to also have a co-occurring anxiety disorder. Comprehensive assessment and observation over a reasonable amount of time is important in order to accurately diagnose an anxiety disorder. Otherwise a different disorder that may mimic the symptoms of depression, but is actually more anxiety than depression or actually more depression than anxiety.


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