Anxiety disorder is a mental health illness in which experiences that are “normal” under certain circumstances occur with unhealthy frequency and intensity.
Anxiety disorder is marked by frequent, extended and intense periods of worry, nervousness, fear or dread, and is a potentially debilitating condition that falls under the general term “mood disorder.” Other common mood disorders include depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder Attacks
Generalized anxiety is diagnosed when an individual has been excessively worried about an everyday problem for six months or more. Anxiety disorder attack symptoms are similar to what almost all people experience when worried or under stress:
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Sleep problems
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Irritability and restlessness
- Overwhelming irrational fears
- Constantly anticipating danger
- Sudden heart pounding panic
While almost everyone experiences these symptoms when exposed to threats or stresses, individuals with anxiety disorder experience the anxiety disorder attack symptoms often, and in the absence of any negative external stimulus.
The Effects of Anxiety Disorder
People with anxiety experience exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. Generalized anxiety affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of Americans, and women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
Anxiety can range from disruptive to debilitating, though many individuals who have struggled with this condition have been able to overcome the problems with professional treatment.
One particular type of anxiety disorder, Social Anxiety (also referred to as social phobia), is often characterized by an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations.
Family History of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder research has shown that those with a family history of anxiety disorder may be at an increased risk themselves, and those who have suffered a significant trauma or who have been abused may be placed at an increased risk as well.
Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorder
Please visit our: Treatment for Anxiety Disorder page for details on the options for treatment.
Anti-depression medications such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have proven to be effective in the treatment of individuals with anxiety disorder.
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