Anxiety differs from normal feelings of nervousness
and is the most common of emotional disorders. Anxiety can be a normal reaction to stressful situations, but it becomes a problem when it is excessive and effects daily functioning. There are several types of anxiety-related disorders including Panic Disorder (characterized by panic attacks), Phobias (excessive fear of an activity, object or person), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (compulsive behavior such as excessive hand-washing), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (a steady, all-over feeling of anxiety that effects daily life).
Anxiety sufferers also frequently suffer from depression and may abuse alcohol or other substances in an effort to relieve their symptoms. Twice as many women as men suffer from the disorder.
In the case of anxiety, it is possible to “worry yourself sick” as the saying goes. Extreme worry and anxiety may cause these symptoms:
- An overwhelming feeling of panic and fear
- Inability to relax
- Physical symptoms such as stomach problems, heart pounding, muscle tension, being easily startled
- Frequent urination
- Expectation of negative outcomes in unknown situations
People who suffer from anxiety worry excessively about almost everything…family, money, work, school, their health…even when there are no signs of trouble.
Anxiety often arises during childhood, either from a traumatic experience that affected the brain’s normal response to fear or perhaps as a result of a genetic predisposition:
- Environmental stresses
- Anxiety Treatment
Each type of anxiety disorder has its own characteristics; however, most disorders respond well to two types of treatment:
- Psychotherapy – Behavioral therapies (with or without medication to control symptoms) are very effective, especially in children. This kind of therapy may include focusing on changing thought patterns that fuel the condition or gradual exposure to the situation that is feared.
- Medications – In some cases, medication is recommended. Treatment often takes several weeks to work best, so close monitoring is necessary.
The most important thing to know about anxiety is that many people with the disorder do not seek help, fearing criticism from family or friends. Anxiety is an illness that has effective treatments. We’ve supported many clients as they have learned how to deal with life’s daily hurdles and transformed their lives.
National Institute of Mental Health