Anxiety

What is it?

Anxiety is an emotion that causes nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. Anxiety can affect the way a person feels and behaves and can manifest real physical problems. Occasional or mild anxiety is normal, especially if you are confronting something challenging. Severe anxiety, however, can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life. People with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.

Symptoms of Anxiety:

Anxiety is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to sleep or otherwise function. Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling powerless
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

Most Common Anxiety Disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – characterized by excessive, long-lasting anxiety and worry about nonspecific life events and situations. Often clients have difficulty both identifying the specific fear and controlling the worries. Sufferers expect failure and disaster to the point that it interferes with daily functions like work, school, social activities, and relationships. Women are twice as likely to be affected.

Panic Disorder – characterized by brief or sudden attacks of intense terror and uneasiness that leads to shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing. You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or chest pain. Panic attacks may occur abruptly and usually peak within minutes but can last for hours.

Specific Phobia – an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that poses little actual danger but incites anxiety and avoidance. The fear may be acknowledged as irrational or unnecessary, but the person is still unable to control the anxiety that results. Agoraphobia is a common phobia that occurs when an individual avoids a place or situation to avoid an anxiety or panic attack.

Social Anxiety Disorder – involves high levels of anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social or public situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being judged by others. This fear can be so strong that it gets in the way of going to work or school or doing other everyday things.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – anxiety that results from previous trauma, such as, military combat, rape, hostage situations, or a serious accident. PTSD often leads to flashbacks and behavioral changes in order to avoid certain stimuli.

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