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Frequently Asked Questions about Anxiety

Last updated: December 9, 2019


Frequent Questions about Anxiety, Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety Attacks (Panic Attacks), etc.:

anxiety faq

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time as a normal part of life. Anxiety becomes a disorder when worry and fear interfere with a normal lifestyle. Anxiety disorders include, Panic Attack Disorder (PAD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

Below are common anxiety questions and answers (anxiety FAQ) by category:



Frequently asked questions about anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety can be defined as an uneasy physiological, psychological, and emotional reaction to believing a future threat has the potential to cause harm. Where fear is a reaction to a real or perceived imminent threat, anxiety is a reaction to a future real or perceived threat.

For more information, see our Anxiety 101 article or our Anxiety Disorder Signs and Symptoms article.


What causes anxiety?

Anxiety is caused by apprehensive behavior. Behavior is defined as the ways we think and act. Therefore, we cause anxiety when we behave in anxious ways. Worry – imagining something bad or unpleasant might happen – is an example of apprehensive behavior that causes anxiety.

For more information, visit our What Causes Anxiety? article.


What is an anxiety attack?

An anxiety attack is an episode of an acute fear that is accompanied by a high degree stress response and strong symptoms, such as pounding and racing heart, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, tingling, feeling it is out of control, and others.

For more information, see our anxiety attack symptoms article.


What is a panic attack?

A panic attack is an episode of an acute fear that is accompanied by intense symptoms that come on suddenly and are short in duration. Overall, a panic attack is a severe high degree stress response that is accompanied by strong symptoms, such as pounding and racing heart, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, tingling, feeling it is out of control, and others.

For more information, see our panic attack symptoms article.


What is anxiety disorder?

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. This is normal. Anxiety becomes a disorder when anxiety or its symptoms interfere with a normal lifestyle. There are many types of anxiety disorder, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias.

For more information about, see our Anxiety Symptoms article.


Why do I have anxiety symptoms when I don't feel anxious?

Having anxiety symptoms when you don't feel anxious is a common anxiety disorder experience. There are good reasons why anxiety can cause persistent 24/7 symptoms even though you don’t feel anxious in that moment. Knowing these reasons can help you eliminate 24/7 anxiety symptoms even though you might not feel anxious at the time, or that day, or that week.

For more information, visit our "Anxiety Symptoms When Not Anxious" article.


Why is mental illness on the rise?

Research has identified many reasons why mental illness is on the rise. For instance, increased parental pressures, increased adoption of electronic media, increased divisive views, increased violent programming, social media pressure and isolation, poor or reduced sleep, increased financial pressure, and so on.

For more information, see our article “Why Is Mental Illness On The Rise.”


Can you have symptoms of anxiety without feeling anxious?

Yes, you can have symptoms of anxiety without feeling anxious. There are several reasons for this including:

  1. You may not be aware you are an anxious person.
  2. You may not be aware of some of the behaviors that create anxiety and symptoms.
  3. Apprehensive behavior stresses the body, and a body that's stressed can exhibit symptoms.
  4. The effects of chronic stress (hyperstimulation).

And so on. For more information, see our article "Can you have symptoms of anxiety without feeling anxious?"


Why won't anxiety just go away?

Many people struggle with anxiety disorder and its symptoms for years, often including panic attacks. We often hear them ask, "Why won't my anxiety just go away? I feel stuck!"

There are good reasons why anxiety disorder and its symptoms don't disappear on their own. Visit our article "Why Won't Anxiety Just Go Away?" article for an answer to this question.


Summer anxiety? Why am I more anxious in the summer?

It's true. People can feel more anxious in the summer. They can also have an increase in anxiety symptoms during the summer. There are many reasons for this, both biological and behavorial. One reason is that hot temperatures can increase cortisol, one of the body's most powerful stress hormones. An increase in stress hormones can cause an increase in anxiety and its symptoms. You can read more about this in our "Summer anxiety? More anxious in the summer?" article.


Can anxiety cause migraine headaches, and can migraine headaches cause anxiety?

Yes, on both counts. Anxiety stresses the body and stress is a known trigger of migraine headaches. People who worry about having migraine headaches will experience anxiety since worry is an example of apprehensive behavior that creates anxiety. For more information, visit our "Migraines And Anxiety" article.


Can antibiotics cause an increase in anxiety and its symptoms?

Yes and no! First, anxiety is caused by apprehensive behavior. So no, antibiotics don't cause anxiety. Second, yes, antibiotics can cause an increase in anxiety-like symptoms as well as aggravate existing anxiety symptoms. Third, if you are worried about taking an antibiotic or the increase in symptoms, that worry will create anxiety since worry is a behavior that creates anxiety. You can read much more about antibiotics and anxiety in our "Anxiety And Antibiotics" article.


How do you quit smoking when you have anxiety disorder?

Quitting smoking when you have anxiety disorder can be difficult. There are many things you can do to make the withdrawal process easier. For more information, visit our "How To Quit Smoking When You Have Anxiety Disorder" article.


If there is a difference between anxiety symptoms in men and women, what are some of the anxiety symptoms in women?

The majority of anxiety symptoms in men and women are similar, but there are some anxiety symptom differences. You can read more about this in our “Anxiety Symptoms In Women” article.


Is there is a difference between anxiety symptoms in men and women, and if so, what are some of the anxiety symptoms in men?

Anxiety symptoms in men and women are similar. There are, however, some differences between them. You can read more about men and anxiety symptoms in our “Anxiety Symptoms In Men” article.


What are some of the anxiety symptoms in children?

Anxiety symptoms in humans are similar, including in children. There are, however, some differences between age groups. You can read more about how children are affected in our “Anxiety Symptoms In Children” article.


Frequent Questions About Anxiety Symptoms

Can anxiety cause dizziness?

Yes, anxiety and the stress anxiety causes can both cause dizziness symptoms. In fact, it's reported that psychiatric disorders are the second most common cause of chronic dizziness, which is often referred to as Chronic Subjective Dizziness (CSD). For more information about anxiety dizziness symptoms.


I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time. I have a lot of the symptoms you list at your website. Many of my friends have anxiety, too, but they only have one or two symptoms. Is my anxiety different because I have so many symptoms, or do some people just get some symptoms whereas others get many? In other words, is it common for anxiety sufferers to get many symptoms or just one or two?


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For more information about anxiety symptoms, visit our Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety page.

For more information about anxiety attack symptoms, visit our Anxiety Attack Symptoms page.

For more information about anxiety news and research, visit our Anxiety News and Anxiety Research pages.

If you have questions about your anxiety symptoms or condition, the Recovery Support area of our web site has over 1000 answers to commonly asked questions about anxiety. If you don't find your question answered there, members can email us their questions and we'll answer them.


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


Additional Resources:


anxietycentre.com: Frequently Questions About Anxiety.