See your doctor or a mental health provider before your anxiety gets worse. Other mental health disorders. Anxiety disorders can run in families. It's easier to treat if you get help early. Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder. People with other mental health disorders, such as depression, often also have an anxiety disorder. In some cases, an underlying condition, such as a sleep disorder or thyroid problem, can cause panic-like signs and symptoms. It's possible that your anxiety may be due to an underlying medical condition if:
Adults who experience a traumatic event also can develop anxiety disorders. Stress due to an illness. Inherited traits also can be a factor. Drug or alcohol use or misuse or withdrawal can cause or worsen anxiety. You don't have any blood relatives such as a parent or sibling with an anxiety disorder You didn't have an anxiety disorder as a child You don't avoid certain things or situations because of anxiety You have a sudden occurrence of anxiety that seems unrelated to life events and you didn't have a previous history of anxiety Risk factors These factors may increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder: This can interfere with school, work and social functioning. These alarming signs and symptoms can mimic those of a heart attack or another serious medical condition. Although panic attacks are uncomfortable, they are not dangerous. People with other mental health disorders, such as depression, often also have an anxiety disorder. As with a daytime panic attack, you may experience sweating, rapid heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath, heavy breathing hyperventilation , flushing or chills, and a sense of impending doom. Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition includes symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem. Having a health condition or serious illness can cause significant worry about issues such as your treatment and your future. Heart disease Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism Respiratory disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD and asthma Drug misuse or withdrawal Withdrawal from alcohol, anti-anxiety medications benzodiazepines or other medications Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome Rare tumors that produce certain fight-or-flight hormones Sometimes anxiety can be a side effect of certain medications. Treatment — cognitive behavioral therapy or medications or both — can help prevent panic attacks and reduce their intensity when they do occur. Other specified anxiety disorder and unspecified anxiety disorder are terms for anxiety or phobias that don't meet the exact criteria for any other anxiety disorders but are significant enough to be distressing and disruptive. A big event or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety — for example, a death in the family, work stress or ongoing worry about finances. Nocturnal panic attacks usually last only a few minutes, but it may take a while to calm down and go back to sleep after you have one. Selective mutism is a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. Depression which often occurs with an anxiety disorder or other mental health disorders Substance misuse. See your doctor or a mental health provider before your anxiety gets worse. It often occurs along with other anxiety disorders or depression. It's not known what causes panic attacks. Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder. Substance-induced anxiety disorder is characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are a direct result of misusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to a toxic substance or withdrawal from drugs. Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety Several types of anxiety disorders exist: Nighttime nocturnal panic attacks can occur with no obvious trigger and awaken you from sleep. In some cases, anxiety signs and symptoms are the first indicators of a medical illness.
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