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Anxiety is a condition that causes you to feel worry or fear. Family or work stress, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol can increase your risk for anxiety. Certain medicines or health conditions can also increase your risk. Anxiety may begin gradually, and can become a long-term condition if it is not managed or treated.


Call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain, tightness, or heaviness that may spread to your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back.
  • You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms get worse or do not get better with treatment.
  • You think your medicine may be causing side effects.
  • Your anxiety keeps you from doing your regular daily activities.
  • You have new symptoms since your last visit.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines may be given to help you feel more calm and relaxed, and decrease your symptoms.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider within 2 weeks or as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage anxiety:

  • Go to counseling as directed. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you understand and change how you react to events that trigger your symptoms.
  • Find ways to manage your symptoms. Activities such as exercise, meditation, or listening to music can help you relax.
  • Practice deep breathing. Breathing can change how your body reacts to stress. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths several times a day, or during an anxiety attack. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine can increase your anxiety. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
  • Do not have caffeine. Caffeine can make your symptoms worse. Do not have foods or drinks that are meant to increase your energy level.
  • Limit or do not drink alcohol. Ask your healthcare provider if alcohol is safe for you. You may not be able to drink alcohol if you take certain anxiety or depression medicines. Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day if you are a woman. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day if you are a man. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.