Anxiety 

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations by alerting us to danger and helping us prepare and pay attention.

Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety is the most common of mental disorders and affects more than 25 million Americans. Anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Most people lead normal productive lives with treatment.

There are several types of anxiety disorders which include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Those with GAD display excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least six months, about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work.

Symptoms include:

  • feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge

  • being easily fatigued

  • difficulty concentrating

  • irritability

  • muscle tension

  • difficulty controlling feelings of worry

  • sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep)

Panic Disorder

People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks. The attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. Attacks can be brought on by a trigger and can occur unexpectedly.

During a panic attack, people may experience:

  • heart palpitations (pounding heartbeat or accelerated heart rate)

  • sweating

  • feelings of impending doom

  • sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking

  • trembling or shaking

  • feelings of being out of control

Phobia-related disorders

A phobia is an intense fear of - or aversion to - specific objects or situations. The fear people with phobias feel is out of proportion to the actual danger caused by the object or situation.

People with a phobia:

  • may have an irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object/situation

  • experience immediate intense anxiety upon encountering the feared object/situation

  • take active steps to avoid the feared object/situation

  • endure unavoidable objects/situations with intense anxiety

Other phobias include:

  • Social anxiety disorder

  • Agoraphobia

  • Separation anxiety disorder