anx·i·e·ty – /ang·zai·uh·tee/ – Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of worry or tension. People with anxiety disorders typically have recurring or pervasive thoughts as well as physical symptoms such as increased heartrate, sweating, or dizziness.
We all experience anxiety. However, when feelings of intense fear and distress become overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. With treatment, anxiety disorders can be effectively managed.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD produces chronic, exaggerated worrying about everyday life. This worrying can consume hours each day, making it hard to concentrate or finish daily tasks.
Social Anxiety Disorder
More than shyness, this disorder causes intense fear about social interaction, often driven by irrational worries about humiliation. Panic attacks are a common reaction.
This disorder is characterized by panic attacks and sudden feelings of terror sometimes striking repeatedly and without warning. Often mistaken for a heart attack, a panic attack causes powerful physical symptoms including chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath and stomach upset.
We all tend to avoid certain things or situations that make us uncomfortable or even fearful. But for someone with a phobia, certain places, events or objects create powerful reactions of strong, irrational fear.
Symptoms of Anxiety
There are several types of anxiety disorders. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. People typically experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Feeling tense or jumpy
- Restlessness or irritability
- Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
- Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
- Sweating, tremors and twitches
- Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
- Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea
It’s important to remember that many of the physical symptoms of panic attacks are similar to symptoms one might witness during a heart attack or cardiac event, remember it is never a bad idea to seek medical assistance when these events occur.
There are many treatments for anxiety disorders including:
Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy
Medications, including anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants
Stress and relaxation techniques
You are not alone. We can help you or someone you love overcome anxiety. Take a fast, confidential online screening test.
Information provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness
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