Anxiety – The Most Common Symptom of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, panic disorder (post-traumatic stress disorder), specific phobias or obsessive-compulsive disorder and separation anxiety disorder among others. You may have more than one anxiety condition. In some cases anxiety results directly from a physical condition which requires treatment in order to prevent the condition from getting worse. While in other cases anxiety is a normal response to certain events or situations. There are many types of anxiety that need different treatments.


Generalized anxiety is the most common type of anxiety and is characterized by excessive worry and tension. This worry and tension can interfere with your daily activities and cause you to experience shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, nausea, muscle tension, palpitations and fatigue. If generalized anxiety lasts for longer than six months it is considered chronic. In other cases anxiety may be a reaction to a medical condition and should not be treated as an anxiety problem.

Specific phobias are a different type of anxiety that involves a fear of one specific thing or situation. People who have a fear of heights will often experience anxiety when they are about to climb a flight of stairs, going up a flight of stairs or being in a large room. People who have phobias of flying will avoid airports, driving and any place that have planes flying. Someone with a fear of being alone will avoid people, will stay home alone or keep to themselves.

Someone with social anxiety will spend long periods of time sitting alone or avoiding group situations and will often feel anxious even when around others. Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) will keep having thoughts and actions that are irrational and require extreme amounts of focus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually used in conjunction with medications for these symptoms.

Anti-anxiety medications are usually the first choice for treating symptoms of these conditions because they work quickly and they are relatively cheap. However, they come with a wide range of possible side effects. Some of these side effects can include confusion, slow heart rate, blurred vision, dry mouth, dizziness, upset stomach, insomnia, nausea, sweating and even muscle spasms. Many of these drugs can also lead to breathing problems or even coma. Therefore, they are not usually taken on a long term basis.

The most widely prescribed anti-anxiety medications for treating these conditions are the benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Klonopin, Valium and Alprazolam. These medications work by slowing down the nerve impulses that send messages to the brain, but they also work by slowing down the behaviors that are causing the anxiety. This means that the anxiety may be relieved, but the behaviors associated with it are still active.

Another widely used medication for treating anxiety disorders is the tricyclic antidepressants or TCAs. TCAs work by changing the way in which the brain sends signals to the rest of the body. As a result, the restlessness and other symptoms are lessened, but the TCAs still can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms when stopped. In fact, stopping taking TCAs can lead to depression because the brain’s pathways have been altered.

The most severe anxiety disorders are the ones that can be very debilitating. However, there are ways to treat the common symptoms of anxiety in order to keep it from disrupting your life. Since insomnia is often one of the more common symptoms, it is often the easiest to treat. Therefore, you may want to consider trying some natural remedies for insomnia instead of using a prescription drug. Natural remedies can help you get better sleep and relaxation.