Anxiety Disorders

About Anxiety Disorders


According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults ages 18 and older (about 18%) in a given year.  Anxiety Disorder is a blanket term covering several different types of abnormal and pathological fear and anxiety.


Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times.  The hormones that drive anxiety can stimulate the senses to function better, helping to improve performance or avoid real danger.  When the anxiety has a negative impact on functioning, it can develop into a disorder.  



What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, excessive and unrealistic worry about every day things.  People with GAD experience an exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when the threat is minimal or non-existent.


What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?


People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) suffer from unwanted and intrusive thoughts that they can’t seem to get out of their heads (obsession), often compelling them to repeatedly perform ritualistic behaviors and routines (compulsions) to try and ease their anxiety.  Although most people with OCD are aware of their obsessions and compulsions, they feel powerless to stop them.


What is Panic Disorder?


People with Panic Disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes or longer.  These are called panic attacks and are characterized by strong physiological reactivity, such as rapid heart beats, perspiration, dizziness and trembling.  People often fear they are having a heart attack and feel out of control of their body.  


What is Social Anxiety Disorder?


Social anxiety or social phobia is the fear of social situations and the interaction with other people that can automatically bring on feelings of self consciousness.  People fear being watched, judged, or criticized by others, often feeling inferior.  The distress from social situations often result in an impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life.