1 in 4 people will experience mental illness.

Anxiety Disorders

While most of us worry about topics or situations from time to time, sometimes the worrying can last for extended periods of time. Anxiety disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are characterized by excessive and unrealistic worry or concern. These disorders can cause not only nervousness or worry, but also obsessive behaviors or rituals that give the person a sense of calm or control.

Anxiety disorders can affect adults of any age, and even children. While symptoms of the disorder can vary from person to person, there are some warning signs that can point to an anxiety disorder. Here are a few symptoms to watch for:

  • Feeling jumpy, tense, or irritable
  • Racing or pounding heartbeat
  • Anticipating the worse or having a feeling of dread
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

Anxiety disorders can present themselves in different ways. For some people, anxiety can present itself in social anxiety, phobias, or even panic attacks. In any case, the person living with anxiety does not have to suffer without help. Many people living with anxiety disorders can be successfully treated through an individualized plan that utilizes counseling, support from family or friends, and medication when necessary. People living with anxiety can also find coping skills that work for them when they become especially anxious or worried, such as journaling, music or art therapy, exercise, or meditation. Curious about more ways to combat stress or anxiety? Check out the tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for a few more.

Remember, every person will experience some type of anxiety in life. However, if feelings of anxiety persist or make daily life uncomfortable or impossible, it is imperative to seek a mental health professional or trusted physician. Click here to visit our Get Help page and begin the process of finding local resources. Fortunately, anxiety disorders can be treated with a personalized treatment plan. However, the person with the anxiety must seek out help and encouragement from professionals and trusted family and friends. With the right supports in place, people living with anxiety disorders can breathe deeply and comfortably once again, finding the joy they may have lost.

People with anxiety disorders experience excessive anxiety, fear, or worry, causing them to avoid situations or develop compulsive rituals to try to ease their anxiety.

Some anxiety disorders are: 

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 
    People with OCD experience persistent and repetitive thoughts, ideas, impulses, and images that they perceive as intrusive and inappropriate and which cause anxiety or distress. 
    • Symptoms:
      • Persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or rituals (compulsions) that the person finds impossible to control; 
      • Typically, obsessions concern contamination, doubting (such as worrying that the iron hasn’t been turned off), and disturbing sexual or religious thoughts; 
      • Compulsions can include washing, checking, organizing, and counting. 
  • Phobias 
    These are marked by a persistent fear of particular objects or situations, such as flying, heights, or animals.
    • Symptoms:
      • People suffering from a specific phobia are overwhelmed by unreasonable fears, which they are unable to control; 
      • Exposure to feared situations can cause them extreme anxiety and panic, even if they recognize that their fears are illogical.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
    This is marked by distressing recollections of a life-threatening event, usually caused by a terrifying experience in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. 
    • Symptoms:
      • Common symptoms include: flashbacks during which the person relives a terrifying experience; 
      • Nightmares; 
      • Depression; 
      • Feelings of anger or irritability.

As a group, anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental illnesses. Recognizing symptoms early and learning to manage those symptoms will help to prevent secondary disorders such as depression or substance abuse. 

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