Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear. It's a normal feeling when a loved one is ill or a project you are working on is late.
When that anxiety spills over to everyday problems, or when it occurs every day, you could have an anxiety disorder, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says.
One of the most common anxiety disorders is called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD tend to worry constantly. They worry about their finances, their health, their jobs, world events, and the future. Their worry is often out of proportion to reality.
Although GAD affects a person’s mental state, it also can cause these physical symptoms:
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You may suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) if you go through the day worried, tense or anxious about your family, health or work, even when you know there are no signs of trouble.
Someone with GAD may have a good job, a happy marriage and well-adjusted kids, for example, but worries constantly it's all going to fall apart. Such a person may not let their children go on school trips because they fear they'll get kidnapped.
Constant worrying may interfere with GAD sufferers' day-to-day functioning. It may be accompanied by chronic physical symptoms, such as aches and pains, irritability, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness and frequent trips to the bathroom.
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Some anxiety can be good. It can alert you to danger--and give you extra oomph to get out of it. It also can motivate you to get things done, like study hard for an exam or deal with problems at the office. The trouble comes when anxiety makes you feel fearful for no apparent reason, throwing a wrench in your life. You might have chest pains or nightmares, or have a hard time leaving the house. These could be signs of an anxiety disorder, and you should see your primary care doctor. Click through the next slides to learn how to control the dark side of anxiety.
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