A sensation of tension, anxious thoughts, and physical changes like elevated blood pressure are all characteristics of anxiety. Typically, intrusive thoughts or worries repeat throughout the lives of those with anxiety disorders. They could stay away from specific circumstances out of fear. They might also have physical side effects as sweating, shaking, nausea, or an accelerated heartbeat.

Although they are not the same thing, fear and anxiety are frequently used interchangeably. Fear is a proper, in-the-moment reaction to a clearly recognized and precise threat, but anxiety is a long-lasting, broadly focused, future-oriented response to a diffuse threat.


  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Having difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety


Uncertainties remain regarding the causes of anxiety disorders. People who are already anxious seem to be more susceptible to anxiety disorders when they are exposed to severe life situations. Traits that are inherited can also play a role.

Medical causes

An underlying medical condition may be connected to anxiety in certain persons. Sometimes the first warning signals of a medical condition are anxiety-related signs and symptoms.

Medical problems that can be linked to anxiety include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism
  • Respiratory disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma
  • Drug misuse or withdrawal
  • Withdrawal from alcohol, anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) or other medications
  • Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Rare tumors that produce certain fight-or-flight hormones.


The likelihood of developing an anxiety condition can be decreased. Keep in mind that experiencing anxiety is a normal part of life and does not always signify the presence of a mental health issue.

  • Reducing caffeine intake
  • Checking with a health professional before using over-the-counter or herbal remedies
  • Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet
  • Keeping a regular sleep pattern
  • Regularly exercising
  • Avoiding alcohol, cannabis, and other recreational drug