Anxiety Disorder – Symptoms and Treatments – includes a free patient information PDF!

Download the free patient handout PDF near the end of this article!

Anxiety can be a normal "alarm system" that alerts you to danger. However, if you are often afraid or anxious for no reason and this is getting in the way of your normal daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

A Generalized Anxiety Disorder involves feeling tense and worried either frequently or constantly when there are no signs of trouble or any specific purpose for the worrying.

An anxiety disorder can be caused by a chemical imbalance in your body, an unconscious memory, or a side effect of a medicine or illness.

Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Fast heartbeat, sweating, or shortness of breath
  • Constant worry or obsession over small or large concerns
  • Trouble concentrating or having mind go “blank”
  • Stomach and intestinal problems including diarrhea
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Shaking or feeling easily startled
  • Restlessness, irritability or feeling on edge
  • Loss of sleep

How can I lessen my anxiety?

You can print copies of this PDF handout for your patients, to reinforce what you have told them.
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  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid stimulants. Stimulants include caffeine, alcohol, drugs, over-the-counter diet pills, and certain cough and cold medicines.
  • Control your worry. Pick a specific time to worry. Focus on what's actually happening, rather than what “might” happen. Then let go of the worry and go on with your day.
  • Exercise everyday.
  • Relax. Relax by practicing deep breathing, guided imagery, positive thinking, muscle relaxation or listening to relaxing music. There are handouts for learning to relax.
  • Explore possible treatment plans with your health care provider. There may be behavioral therapies or medications available to lessen your anxiety.
Used with permission from the Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States (CHAMPS)