Anxiety Disorders: Causes, Effects and Therapy

Commentary - Journal of Contemporary Medical Education (2021)

Anxiety Disorders: Causes, Effects and Therapy

Emily Meyer*
Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada
*Corresponding Author:

Emily Meyer, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada, Email:

Received: 05-Nov-2021 Published: 26-Nov-2021


Anxiety disorders are a set of mental disorders characterized by significant and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety and fear that well-being, work, and personal performance are severely impaired. Anxiety may trigger physical and psychological symptoms, such as restlessness, irritability, light fatigue, difficulty concentrating, increased heart rate, chest pain, abdominal pain, and a variety of other symptoms that may vary from person to person. Anxiety disorders can be of various types. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by long-term anxiety that is not focused on any one thing or situation. Those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder experience persistent fear and indirect anxiety, and are extremely anxious about everyday issues. This is characterized by chronic anxiety associated with following symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. Anxiety may be a sign of a medical or drug problem, and medical professionals should be aware of this. One of the biggest categories of anxiety disorders is that of specific phobias, which covers all situations where fear and anxiety are caused by a particular stimulus or condition. Patients often expect horrible consequences from experiencing something they are afraid of, which can be anything i.e from an animal or a place or body fluid or a specific condition. When people are exposed to their phobia, they may experience tremors, shortness of breath, or rapid heartbeat. With panic disorder, a person experiences short-term seizures and panic attacks, which are often manifested by tremors, confusion, dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing. This panic attack, which is described by the APA as panic or discomfort that occurs suddenly and escalates in less than ten minutes, can take several hours. Attacks can be caused by stress, irrational thoughts, common fears or unknown fears, or even exercise. However, sometimes the trigger is not clear and the attack can occur without warning. This can mean avoiding places, people, behaviors, or situations that are known to cause panic attacks. Agoraphobia is a direct concern about being in a place or situation where escape is difficult or embarrassing or where help may not be available. Common manifestations involve the need to keep an eye on the door or other escape route. Social Anxiety Disorder defines gross fear and avoids negative social criticism, social embarrassment, humiliation, or social interaction. Children are also affected by social anxiety, although the accompanying symptoms are different from those of adolescents. They may experience difficulty processing or retrieving information, sleep deprivation, disruptive classroom behavior, and unusual class participation. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by a very serious condition, such as a fight, a natural disaster, abduction situations, child abuse, bullying, or even a serious accident. Diagnosis of anxiety disorders is made by symptoms, causes, and personal and family history. There are no purposeful biomarkers or laboratory tests that can diagnose anxiety. It is important for a medical professional to diagnose a person’s other medical and psychological causes for long-term anxiety because treatment will be very different. There is no clear evidence that treatment or medication is very effective; the decision of a particular medication can be made by the doctor and the patient taking into account the patient’s specific circumstances and symptoms. If during treatment with selected drugs, a person’s anxiety does not improve, another medication may be prescribed. Specific treatment will vary with the type of anxiety disorder, other medical conditions, and medication. Lifestyle changes include exercise, which is moderate evidence of some improvement, adjusting sleep patterns, reducing caffeinated foods, and quitting smoking.



Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts.