In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.
 EMAIL TO FRIEND     |      PRINTER FRIENDLY     |    
          advertisement

Anxiety Disorders

- Summary
- About anxiety disorders
- Types and differences
- Risk factors and causes
- Signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment options
- Prevention methods
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Steven A. King, M.D.
Tahir Tellioglu, M.D., APA, AAAP

Summary

Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses in which patients feel excessive anxiety, fear or distress during situations in which most other people would not experience these symptoms. Normally, anxiety is part of the body’s alarm system, alerting a person to danger or providing extra energy to help accomplish a task. However, people with anxiety disorders experience disabling anxiety and distress that dramatically reduces their productivity and significantly diminishes their quality of life and ability to function on a daily basis.

Anxiety is also a symptom of other mental health disorders, physical conditions and a side effect of some medications and substances including alcohol and recreational drugs. An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when anxiety is the main symptom that requires help from a mental health professional.

Anxiety disorders are among the nation’s most common mental disorders, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. There are five major categories of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. Diagnosed when a person worries excessively about all types of life issues (e.g., health, family, money, work) for more than six months.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Diagnosed when a person is unable to control intrusive and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or to stop performing ritual actions (compulsions), such as repetitive handwashing.

  • Panic disorder. Diagnosed when a person regularly experiences panic attacks – sudden episodes of fear and anxiety that usually last for between 10 and 30 minutes and cause physical symptoms such as racing heartbeat, heavy perspiration and shortness of breath.

  • Phobias. Diagnosed when a person has extreme and irrational fear of objects or situations that in actuality pose little or no threat to them.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder. Diagnosed when a patient who has experienced an extremely traumatic event such as war, rape, child abuse or a natural disaster later begins to have nightmares, flashbacks, depression and/or other symptoms.
The exact cause of most anxiety disorders is unknown. However, a combination of psychological, biological, genetic and environmental factors may be responsible. Patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders have several effective treatment options. In many cases, a combination of psychotherapy and medications is the best treatment.

page 1 of 9 | Next Page




Review Date: 08-22-2007
Video

If pain lingers for months and interferes with your life, chances are...

Tina Johnson of Women's Health magazine discusses the symptoms...

Dr. Gail Saltz talks about the red flags for chronic worriers and how they can lessen...

Dr. Saltz tells Maria Menounos how to recognize them and keep them...

Coronary artery disease patients are more likely to suffer chest pain...

The threat of losing your home or savings can really make couples...

News from Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Helpful tips and information on health and weight loss

Get the information you need
advertisement
advertisement

YourTotalHealth      

Home  |  Health Centers  |  Health A-Z  |  Staying Healthy  |  Diet & Fitness  |  Woman & Family  |   |   |  

also on iVision:  |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

 |   |  Site Map  |   | 

Copyright (c) 2000-2009 iVision Inc. All rights reserved. The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.