Anxiety

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety & Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety describes the reactions within our minds and bodies to situations that are stressful, dangerous, or create a sense of uncertainty. Nearly everyone experiences occasional feelings of anxiety – nervousness, worry, or fear. These feelings are typically triggered by a specific event or situation and pass once the event is over. Anxiety disorders describe feelings of anxiety that occur so frequently and with such intensity that people aren’t able to enjoy and participate in daily life as they once were. Anxiety disorders are both very common and highly treatable.

The signs and symptoms of anxiety will vary from person to person. At times, symptoms will be severe and impact people’s lives in significant and negative ways. But symptoms can also be mild for long stretches. Similarly, the signs of anxiety can be readily apparent in some situations and quite difficult to recognize in others.

Signs of Anxiety
Symptoms of Anxiety

Types of Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
A common mental health condition where people experience regular, excessive anxiety. Unlike other anxiety disorders where fears are easily identified, people living with GAD have multiple fears or may be unable to identify specific causes of their anxiety.

Social Anxiety Disorder
A common condition that's characterized by excessive fear of certain social situations and specific concerns of being negatively judged by others. Often, social anxiety leads to avoidance of these situations which negatively impacts a person’s ability to function and their quality of life.
Panic Disorder
A condition characterized by the intense fear of having another panic attack. Panic attacks feature extreme symptoms of anxiety that come on suddenly and generally last several minutes. Panic disorder leads to avoidant behavior which disrupts a person’s normal routine and daily life.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
A mental health condition defined by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors ( (aka obsessions and compulsions). Those living with OCD experience intense anxiety about the nature of their obsessions and engage in compulsive behaviors to alleviate their distress. Reduction in the frequency and severity of symptoms is possible with therapy and/or medication.


Acute Stress Disorder
Develops following a traumatic experience with symptoms including upsetting memories, avoidance of trauma reminders, and impairment of normal routines and functioning. Acute stress disorder is diagnosed when symptoms occur directly after the trauma but resolve within one month. Acute stress disorder is a diagnosis used to help clinicians flag people at risk of developing PTSD following a traumatic experience like an accident, injury, or assault. Early treatment may slow or stop this progression to PTSD.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
People feel an excessive and overwhelming amount of anxiety when separated, or when anticipating being separated, from a parent, spouse, child, etc. The level of anxiety experienced is not developmentally appropriate, is persistent, and can cause significant distress sometimes impairing social, school or work functioning. It is quite common and onset often occurs in children and adolescents. Treated with talk therapy and/or medication.
Types of Anxiety Disorder

A common mental health condition where people experience regular, excessive anxiety. Unlike other anxiety disorders where fears are easily identified, people living with GAD have multiple fears or may be unable to identify specific causes of their anxiety.

A common condition that’s characterized by excessive fear of certain social situations and specific concerns of being negatively judged by others. Often, social anxiety leads to avoidance of these situations which negatively impacts a person’s ability to function and their quality of life.

 

Develops following a traumatic experience with symptoms including upsetting memories, avoidance of trauma reminders, and impairment of normal routines and functioning. Acute stress disorder is diagnosed when symptoms occur directly after the trauma but resolve within one month. Acute stress disorder is a diagnosis used to help clinicians flag people at risk of developing PTSD following a traumatic experience like an accident, injury, or assault. Early treatment may slow or stop this progression to PTSD.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
A mental health condition defined by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors ( (aka obsessions and compulsions). Those living with OCD experience intense anxiety about the nature of their obsessions and engage in compulsive behaviors to alleviate their distress. Reduction in the frequency and severity of symptoms is possible with therapy and/or medication.

A condition characterized by the intense fear of having another panic attack. Panic attacks feature extreme symptoms of anxiety that come on suddenly and generally last several minutes. Panic disorder leads to avoidant behavior which disrupts a person’s normal routine and daily life.

People feel an excessive and overwhelming amount of anxiety when separated, or when anticipating being separated, from a parent, spouse, child, etc. The level of anxiety experienced is not developmentally appropriate, is persistent, and can cause significant distress sometimes impairing social, school or work functioning. It is quite common and onset often occurs in children and adolescents. Treated with talk therapy and/or medication.

People experience intense anxiety in response to specific cues (people, places, things, or situations) that is excessive relative to the actual risk they face. Specific phobias are diagnosed when this fear or the resulting avoidance causes a significant distress or impairment in a person’s life. Phobias are treatable with exposure therapy, talk therapy, and/or medication.

The key differences between anxiety attacks and panic attacks involve intensity, duration, and onset. Panic attacks bring on a sudden rush of emotional and physical changes so intense that many people believe something serious is happening physically. A panic attack usually has a distinct beginning and end and symptoms rarely last more than 30 minutes. Anxiety attacks may be more subtle and present with a slow build. Periods of high anxiety could last for hours or days with the beginning and end of the anxiety attack very difficult to define.

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Treatment of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are quite common. In fact, every year nearly 1 in 5 adults will struggle with anxiety. Fortunately, the effects of anxiety disorders can be significantly reduced, and even eliminated, with treatment. Finding a licensed mental health professional that has experience treating anxiety disorder, that you trust and feel comfortable talking to is a great first step toward reducing anxiety’s impact on your life.

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