Anxiety Disorders

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

Source: 2017 https://nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders



We all experience anxiety. For example, speaking in front of a group can make us anxious, but that anxiety also motivates us to prepare and practice. Driving in heavy traffic is another common source of anxiety, but it helps keep us alert and cautious to avoid accidents.


However, when feelings of intense fear and distress become overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause.


Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 7% of children aged 3-17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Most people develop symptoms before age 21.


Symptoms


Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. 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:


Emotional symptoms:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread

  • Feeling tense or jumpy

  • Restlessness or irritability

  • Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger


Physical symptoms:

  • Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath

  • Sweating, tremors and twitches

  • Headaches, fatigue and insomnia

  • Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea


Types Of Anxiety Disorders


There are many types of anxiety disorders, each with different symptoms. The most common types of anxiety disorders include:


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. A person with GAD may become exhausted by worry and experience headaches, tension or nausea.