Anxiety can cause different physical and psychological symptoms depending on the type of anxiety disorder. There are typically five forms of anxiety disorder: panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
Panic disorder symptoms occur during an 'attack' and include shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, trembling, dizziness, nausea, chills, hot flushes and a feeling of being disconnected from the outside world. People with a panic disorder often feel they are having a heart-attack.
Phobias are fears of specific social situations, activities, people or objects. The symptoms of stress cause the sufferer to go to extreme lengths to avoid their fear. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have an intense preoccupation with things and suffer irrational thoughts. OCD sufferers use repetitive behaviour to minimise the effects of their obsessions and their behaviour can include repeated hand washing, placing items in a rigid order and persistent rechecking to satisfy doubt.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms occur after a severe physical or emotional event. Sufferers tend to have nightmares or flashbacks in which they relive the event again. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress include numbness, sleep loss, irritability and edginess. Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common form of anxiety and symptoms include restlessness, lack of concentration, feelings of dread, impatience, dizziness, lethargy, palpitations, breathlessness and sweating.