What are Anxiety Disorders?

While anxiety is a normal part of the human experience, and there are many things that people can feel anxious about, anxiety disorders generally involve experiencing incredibly high, debilitating levels of anxiety seemingly for no reason at all.

There are several different anxiety disorders. The three most common are generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. PTSD and OCD are also considered to be anxiety disorders, but they will not be covered here as they each have their own entry on this site, here, and here, respectively.

Generalized anxiety disorder involves having very high levels of anxiety on a day to day basis, without an obvious cause. Symptoms include restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, emotional detachment, muscle tension, difficulty breathing, irritability, sleep disruption, and extreme difficulty controlling worry.  

Social anxiety disorder has symptoms that are virtually identical to the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. These symptoms just manifest themselves in social settings. Symptoms also include fear of being around other people, fear of being judged by other people, and fear of speaking in front of other people.

People who live with panic disorder experience frequent panic attacks. Symptoms of a panic attack include chest pain, rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, increased sweating, feeling of being trapped, and the feeling of impending, certain doom. People who with panic disorder also experience fear of the next panic attack and fear or avoidance of places that previous attacks have occurred.

If you believe that you or a loved one may have an anxiety disorder please take this free, anonymous, online screening

For more information about anxiety disorders visit Mental Health America’s website.

This page was produced in partnership with the Plantory AmeriCorps VISTA network and Mental Health America of Kentucky.

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