Anxiety or Nervousness
Head | General Practice | Anxiety or Nervousness (Symptom)
Anxiety is a psychological condition with cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components. Anxiety is considered to be a normal reaction to a stressor. Anxiety disorders are a group of issues including: generalized anxiety, social phobia, specific phobias such as fear of insects, fear of open or closed spaces, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress.
The emotional effects of anxiety include feelings of apprehension or dread, trouble concentrating, irritability, restlessness, feeling tense and jumpy, anticipating the worst, watching and waiting for signs of danger, and, feeling like your mind's gone blank as well as nightmares, obsessions about sensations, deja- vu and feeling like everything is scary.
The cognitive effects of anxiety may refer to thoughts about dangers, such as fear of dying. Other fears can be that the chest pains are a deadly heart attack or that the shooting pains in the head are caused by a tumor or aneurysm. The fear of dying is very intense and is often present.
The behavioral effects of anxiety include withdrawal from situations which have provoked anxiety in the past.
The physical symptoms that are associated with anxiety are: palpitations, chest pains, a feeling of tightness in the chest, and a tendency to overbreathe. Muscle tension leads to headaches and back pains. Dry mouth, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and difficulty in swallowing are gastrointestinal symptoms. Other symptoms include sweating, blushing, pallor, lightheadedness, and a frequent need to urinate or defecate.
Anxiety is considered to be a normal reaction to a stressor. Anxiety disorders are a group of issues including: generalized anxiety, social phobia, specific phobias such as fear of insects, fear of open spaces or closed, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When the nervous state is being caused by an underlying medical condition, such as an endocrine imbalance, other physical symptoms such as rapid heart and respiratory rate, fever, or weight loss may be noted. If the nervousness is not accompanied by other physical signs and symptoms, a psychological cause may be suspected. A referral for psychiatric evaluation may be necessary.
Diagnostic tests may include lab studies to rule out medical causes of the nervousness. This may include a complete blood count, thyroid panel, chemistry panel, and possibly an electrocardiogram. If there are no obvious causes for the nervousness, psychological testing may be done to rule out an underlying psychiatric disorder.