Most people experience stress and anxiety from time to time. Stress can be triggered by an event that makes you feel frustrated or nervous. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. Examples of normal stress and anxiety include worrying about finding a job, feeling nervous before a big test, or being embarrassed in certain social situations.
However, if stress and anxiety begin interfering with your daily life, it may indicate a more serious issue. If you are avoiding situations due to irrational fears, constantly worrying, or anxious about a traumatic event weeks after it happened, it may be time to seek help.
Stress and anxiety can produce both physical and psychological symptoms. Common physical symptoms include:
- stomach ache
- muscle tension
- rapid breathing
- fast heartbeat
- frequent urination
In addition to physical symptoms, stress and anxiety can cause mental or emotional ones, including:
- feelings of impending doom
- panic or nervousness, especially in social settings
- difficulty concentrating
- irrational anger
- restlessnessStress- and Anxiety-Related DisordersStress and anxiety that occur frequently or seem out of proportion to the stressor may be signs of an anxiety disorder. Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from some type of anxiety disorder.Individuals with these disorders may feel anxious and stressed on a daily basis and have irrational fears (phobias).
Common anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): a common anxiety disorder that causes uncontrollable worrying about bad things that might happen
- Panic disorder: a condition that causes moments of extreme fear, a pounding heart, and shortness of breath, commonly known as panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): a condition that causes flashbacks or anxiety as the result of a traumatic experience
- Social phobia: a condition that causes intense feelings of anxiety in situations that involve interacting with others
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: a condition that causes repetitive thoughts and the compulsion to complete certain ritual actions