What is Organic Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety can be defined as the constant feeling of nervousness, apprehension, and worrying. It manifests itself in the form of various physical and psychological symptoms. Anxiety can be due to a variety of causes which can be both psychiatric and medical. When anxiety is due to medical reasons, it is known as an organic anxiety disorder.

What are the causes of Organic Anxiety Disorder?

The cause as mentioned above are medical and the diseases where anxiety is seen are:

  • Thyroid disorders: The increase or decrease in thyroid hormone levels can lead to mood disturbances including anxiety and depression.
  • Adrenal gland tumours: Adrenal tumours lead to increased adrenaline levels in the blood leading to anxiety.
  • Heart diseases: The chest pain (angina) in heart diseases is severe pain of sharp constricting nature which leads to feeling of anxiety and sense of impending doom in the patient
  • Asthma: Sudden attack of severe asthma leads to breathlessness in the individual and lead to anxiety in the individual
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Myasthenia gravis: An immune disorder leading to paralysis of voluntary muscles of the body.
  • Lyme’s disease: It is an infection which affects the nervous system
  • Guillian Barre syndrome: It is a disease leading to muscle paralysis following an acute infection like sore throat or diarrhoea
  • Chronic pain: Patients suffering from long-standing illnesses that cause pain are prone to suffer from anxiety
  • Withdrawal from alcohol and drugs like cocaine also leads to anxiety
  • Dependency on pills: Patients dependent upon anti-anxiety or sleep medications also can develop anxiety on stopping them.
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

Also Read: Anxiety and Acid Reflux (GERD): How Are They Related?

What are the symptoms of Organic Anxiety Disorder?

  • Sweating
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Increased and unpleasant awareness of one’s own heartbeat
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trembling
  • Fatigue
  • Racing thoughts
  • Restlessness

Also Read: Do Support Groups Help Older Adults with Depression and Anxiety?

What are the investigations of Organic Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is itself a symptom and the investigations are done to understand the cause and decide the course of treatment.

A complete history is important. The individuals should give proper information about his symptoms and their onset. Also the information regarding any addiction or drug use is very important. The medications taken by the patient also plays a role in delineating the cause. The investigations done are:

  • Thyroid function test
  • ECG
  • Echocardiography
  • Blood and urine levels of adrenaline and it’s metabolites
  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Vitamin B12 levels

Before and after any surgical operation, patients are usually anxious regarding the operation itself and it’s outcome and the further consequences and can suffer from extreme anxiety.

Also Read: How to deal with a family member with Illness Anxiety Disorder (Hypochondriasis)

What is the treatment of organic anxiety disorder?

Since the cause is an underlying medical condition, treating them will also decrease the anxiety symptoms. In case of thyroid disorders depending on whether the patient suffers from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, thyroid hormone supplementation or anti-thyroid medications respectively can be given. Treating the underlying cardiac, respiratory and central nervous disorders can help decrease anxiety. Preventing the underlying disorder from getting worse and developing anxiety, it is important to give appropriate preventive and medical treatment. In case, the symptoms are severe, symptomatic treatment in the form of anti-anxiety medications and beta-blockers can be given.

Also Read: How Anxiety Affects Your Kidneys

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