Anxiety is often described as a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, or dread of what might happen. These emotions are usually accompanied by physical symptoms, like tense muscles, sweaty palms, an upset stomach, or a racing heart. Normal, healthy anxiety usually occurs in reaction to a real stressor. That stressor can be as relatively minor as a doctor's appointment, a first date, or a work review and as major as a job layoff, or the end of a relationship. A person experiencing everyday anxiety can usually pinpoint this stressor, and can take steps to make unpleasant feelings abate. But the National Institute for Mental Health attests that - for 40 million Americans - anxiety is more than a passing emotion it's a debilitating mental illness. Unlike the relatively short-lived anxiety we all experience, generalized anxiety disorders lasts at least six months and individuals who have it find the symptoms to be so crippling that it interferes with normal, everyday life. Frequently, people with anxiety disorders cannot pinpoint what causes their symptoms. Some sufferers find that they worry almost constantly, even if there is little or no reason for their anxious feelings. Other individuals with anxiety disorders have specific phobias to run-of-the-mill things, like flying, spiders, or even social situations. Still other sufferers have compulsions, or rigid rituals that they employ in an attempt to control their constant worry and fear. And some people with anxiety disorders find themselves occasionally struck with sudden and very intense physical distress known as panic attacks. If you are experiencing any of these severe symptoms, you may have an anxiety disorder. Make an appointment with your doctor immediately! After all, the sooner anxiety disorders are diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated.
Brush it Off Today for a Better Future
The Stresses of Coming Home for Vets
Getting Some Therapy for Surgery Stress
Paralyzed by Fear on Friday the 13th
Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD
Just the Blues or Depression?
The Obstacles and Gifts of ADHD
Last Updated:December 20, 2012