How often do you feel anxious?
Anxiety disorders affect us all to some degree. Numerous aspects of everyday life, such as a job interview, a test, or a project deadline can lead us to feel overwhelmed and out of control. These feelings are very natural, but if your fears and worries are so overwhelming that they interfere with your ability to handle daily life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, but the great news is there are several effective treatments and steps to help you reduce your symptoms and regain a sense of balance to your life.
Anxiety is not always a bad thing. It can be the body’s natural response to danger when we feel threatened and spur us to action, and help us stay alert and focused. For some people, however, excessive anxiety is what can often interfere with their ability to handle normal life situations and thus, negatively affect day to day living.
Some of the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder and social phobia (or social anxiety disorder).
Causes and Characteristics of Anxiety
Research remains that mental illnesses and anxiety disorders are complex and are a combination of genetic, environmental and developmental factors. Unlike the relatively brief and mild anxiety we often experience a stressful event, anxiety disorders last at least six months or more. They are often characterized by an irrational sense of fear and dread.
Often, anxiety or mental illness are masked by substance or alcohol abuse and can make anxiety symptoms worse. Another common coexisting condition that comes with anxiety is depression.
Symptoms & Signs of Anxiety
- Are you constantly on edge, tense, or worried?
- Does your anxiety interfere with your responsibilities at work, school, or at home with your family?
- Are the fears that plague you are irrational, but you can’t get rid of them?
- Do you believe that something bad will happen if something isn’t done a certain way?
- Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because you get anxious?
- Do you experience your heart pounding suddenly, and you are filled with panic?
- Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are looming in every situation?
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