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Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of nervousness and worry, which is often accompanied by impulsive nervous behaviors. These feelings could include overly anticipating or dreading upcoming or hypothetical events, or in general just relentlessly worrying about events that haven’t even happened yet. It differs from fear in that fear is a response to an immediate threat, while anxiety generally involves the anticipation of a future threat. Anxiety is sometimes generalized as an overreaction to situations that most people wouldn’t subjectively find to be too dramatic.

Anxiety can seem appropriate when some people do face unthinkable circumstances. It can even be productive at times because it can serve as tool to help drive someone to conquer a future threat. When an individual regularly experiences prolonged episodes of extreme anxiety lasting up to six months or more and interferes with their everyday living though, they may suffer from an anxiety disorder. The severity of some of these cases can be debilitating if left untreated and the symptoms of each individual’s case must be examined by a licensed physician to properly assess the actual level of threat to the individual in comparison to how the individual actually perceives the threat.

If somebody is suffering from an anxiety disorder, it is imperative that a diagnosis be made to determine if there is an underlying causes for the disorder in the patient such as a previous trauma or damage caused by substance abuse. Under the care of a licensed physician, there can be a proper diagnosis to distinguish if substance abuse plays a role in the appearance of anxiety. In this case, both conditions are to be properly evaluated to assess to the causation of each.

Anxiety disorders can lead to other nervous behaviors that can cause a wide range of physical symptoms such as profuse sweating, heart palpitations, dizziness, and nausea. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect roughly 18 percent of American adults, with four percent falling into the severe category of cases.

Causes and types

There are several different things that could factor into the development of an anxiety disorder including environmental factors, genetic disposition or different circumstances such as trauma etc.

Depending on a number of factors an individual can also develop one of several different types of anxiety disorder develops including phobias, acute anxiety, general anxiety, OCD or more. The different forms of anxiety disorder also are characterized by different symptom severities and other factors. The types of anxiety include the following:

  • General anxiety disorder: This is characterized by consistent and excessive worrying. While nobody is ever completely free from stress in their life, people with general anxiety disorder experience anxiety on a more intense and frequent basis. In some cases, the person may recognize that their anxiety is out of hand, but they are still unable to control it
  • Social anxiety disorder: This condition manifests itself as the fear of interaction with other people. People who struggle with this could suffer from intense fears of humiliation, fear meeting unfamiliar people and in general fear being judged in social situations. Their anxiety in social situations can often lead to complete isolation and debilitates them from enjoying their life
  • Panic disorder: This condition is defined by a episodes of intense and crippling fear that can often occur unprovoked. People with this condition experience panic attacks, which exhibit extreme symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness. Often the worry of having a panic attack causes a person with the issue to isolate themselves as well in an effort to avoid possible triggers for an attack
  • Specific phobias: These are irrational fears that one experiences on a consistent basis. They are normally attached to a specific situation such as a fear of flying, heights, insects, blood or other situations, places or things. Some people who experience specific phobias may not require medication attention or a higher level of care, but in some cases these irrational fears manage to take over their lives. In some instances the person doesn’t even need to be exposed to what they are afraid of for it to negatively affect them
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): This is defined by someone obsessing on upsetting and anxious thoughts and performing certain rituals to alleviate their anxiety. These rituals are compulsions and are physically reactions such as constant double-checking, excessive cleaning and/or biting their nails. This constantly obsessive mode of thinking interferes with their daily living

Get help today

The Anxiety Disorder Helpline is committed to helping those who struggle with anxiety disorders by finding effective treatment options. We serve as a free resource to those who are seeking help for their condition. If you know someone who is struggling with an anxiety disorder, please contact us at 866-971-7951. Our lines are open and one of our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right anxiety treatment center for you.