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It’s a normal part of life to experience anxiety occasionally. Not knowing how an upcoming event or experience will turn out may unsettle you to a point where fear or worry does not go away and can get worse over time. It’s a feeling that makes you hesitate, feel nervous, worry, and even doubt yourself.
If you feel panicked like there’s nowhere to turn or no end in sight, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
When anxiety prevents you from going about the business of your day, including meeting with others, completing tasks, and basic daily activities like going to work, school, or maintaining self-care, it becomes a bigger problem.
Coping with anxiety is not to be ignored or downplayed. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) claims anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. age 18 and older – roughly 18.1% of the population every year.
Anxiety can show itself in many ways depending on the individual. Some of the most common anxiety symptoms include:
Unfortunately, an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
According to the ADAA, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of things. Things someone may experience anxiety about can vary greatly and live anywhere on the spectrum of rational vs irrational spectrum. People with GAD may worry more than what seems warranted or even expect the worst when there is no apparent reason for such concern for the actual event.
Things people with GAD may worry about or experience extreme anxiety about-
If you or a loved one finds it difficult to control worry more often than not for an extended period of time (6 months), we encourage seeking one of our compassionate therapists.
Do you or a loved one sometimes have sudden attacks of anxiety and overwhelming fear that last for several minutes? During these attacks do you also experience noticeable heart pounding, increased sweating, or have a hard time breathing?
What is Panic Disorder?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with a panic disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes or longer, also known as panic attacks.
Symptoms of a Panic Disorder
If you or a loved one has been experiencing these symptoms for an extended period of time, it’s important to talk to a qualified and caring professional who can help relieve these feelings of anxiety.
According to Anxiety.Org, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also known as Social Phobia, is characterized by a strong and persistent fear of social situations in which humiliation or embarrassment may occur.
To be clear, these feelings of anxiety regarding how one performs in a social situation are much more than the average person’s preference to avoid being embarrassed in front of their friends, partner, or coworkers. Those afflicted by SAD often experience intense distress, self-consciousness, and fear of judgment in everyday social interactions.
For those experiencing SAD, the thought of becoming embarrassed or humiliated in social situations can lead to significant avoidance behaviors.
The avoidance behavior tendencies of those with Social Anxiety Disorders and Social Phobias often prevent them from having normal friendships, interactions, or romantic relationships. Ultimately, it can keep sufferers from functioning normally in daily life, at work, or at school, and may lead to minor or severe isolation and withdrawal.
Heights, airplanes, spiders, or public speaking are common things that make us all frightened or uneasy. While most people naturally avoid things that may them uncomfortable, they can usually manage to control their fears enough to carry out daily life without incident.
This is not the case for people with specific phobias. We’ve all heard of the word phobia used commonly as an “exaggeration” in conversations about things or situations that make us uncomfortable, but people with a specific phobia experience this discomfort on a more escalated and intense level.
According to the ADAA, people with specific phobias, or strong or irrational fear reactions, actively work to avoid common places, situations, or objects even if they know there’s no actual threat or danger.
Although people with phobias may realize their fear is irrational, even thinking about their fear can cause such extreme anxiety that it can disrupt daily routines, place strain on relationships, reduce self-esteem, and even limit work efficiency.
Some Common Phobias are:
Anxiety disorders are not limited to General Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Phobias. Some other disorders associated with anxiety are:
Anxiety CAN be treated, and we are here to help you regain your confidence with compassionate therapeutic guidance. If you or someone you love is avoiding social situations because of anxiety, it’s time to talk to someone who can help.