Description: Feeling of inner tension together with physical complaints of sweating, tremor and tachycardia overshadowed by a state of fear.
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups other than in infancy and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: Brain
Symptoms and indications: Anxiety attacks can cause such physical symptoms as sweaty palms, dizziness, and diarrhoea or intestinal/digestive discomfort, a feeling of having a lump in the throat, insomnia, and restlessness. This list is far from inclusive of the physical discomforts that excess anxiety can bring about. There may be feelings of uncertainty, uneasiness, or apprehension related to the unknown. One may experience a racing heartbeat, feeling of tightness in the chest, rapid breathing, or tingling in the hands and feet. The physical effects of anxiety accrue over time, and can lead to anxiety disorders. A state of long term anxiety can be dangerous as it can eventually wear out the body, as a result of anxiety and its effect on the immune system and glandular system.
Causes and risk factors: Anxiety may be caused by a mental condition, a physical condition, the effects of drugs, or from a combination of these.
Common causes of anxiety include these mental conditions:
Panic disorder: In addition to anxiety, common symptoms of panic disorders are palpitations (feeling your heart beat), dizziness, and shortness of breath. These same symptoms also can be caused by coffee (caffeine), amphetamines, an overactive thyroid, abnormal heart rhythms, and other heart abnormalities); Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); Phobic disorders; and Stress disorders.
Prevention: Certain foods associated with anxiety should be avoided. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, carbohydrates, chocolates, sugar, sweets, orange squash, refined foods, and cut down on foods that are known to cause allergies (common food allergens are dairy, soy, citrus, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, eggs, corn, food colourings, and additives). Fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein nourish the nervous system, so eat more of these. Regular aerobic exercise boosts mood - enhancing brain chemicals and encourages relaxation. Smoking should also be stopped completely. Above all, simplifying life style eliminates unnecessary anxiety.