Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in America, affecting millions of children and adults each year.
Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety at one time or another. Anxiety disorders, however, can cause people to feel distressed or frightened for no apparent reason and impact our daily lives.
What Are the Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
Excessive worry, distress and/or fears about situations that are non-threatening and have been lasting for at least 6 months. These can be accompanied by physical symptoms as well, such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and muscle tension. Symptoms last at least 6 months
Recurrent intense obsessions and/or compulsions that cause severe discomfort and interfere with day-to-day functioning. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are frequently unrealistic or irrational. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or rituals (like hand washing, keeping things in order, checking something over and over) or mental acts (like counting, repeating words silently, avoiding).
Unexpected and repeated periods of intense fear or discomfort, along with symptoms such as a racing heartbeat or feeling short of breath. These periods are called “panic attacks” and last minutes to hours. Panic attacks frequently develop without warning. More than 3 million Americans will experience panic disorder during their lifetime.
Symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Intense fearfulness (a sense that something terrible is happening)
- Racing or pounding heartbeat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath or a feeling of being smothered
- Trembling or shaking
- Sense of unreality
- Fear of dying, losing control, or losing your mind
Social Anxiety Disorder:
Extreme worry and fear of social situations, which can include school, workplace or shopping at a mall. Anxiety about being judged or scrutinized, which will lead to humiliation or shame, can be debilitating and individual will try to avoid these situations as much as possible.