According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders in America. Anxiety disorders vary in symptoms and severity, and they are typically diagnosed if symptoms persist chronically for at least six months – possibly worsening with time.Anxiety disorders may be triggered by specific events or circumstances, as well as by certain habits or neurological conditions. The type and cause of a particular disorder will determine the course of treatment required to manage symptoms and work toward a solution.
Examples of common anxiety disorders include:
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) – a condition that is conducive to ever-present stress or worry about day-to-day responsibilities, confrontations and problems. GAD is most common among women, and symptoms may include headaches, problems sleeping, difficulty breathing and irritability.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) – a condition that occurs as the result of a traumatic event that involves physical harm. Often, PTSD affects individuals who were previously victimized in an auto accident or crime, or who witnessed harm to another person, such as during warfare. PTSD often presents in the form of flashbacks or nightmares, although some victims become violent, emotionally distant or suspicious of the intentions of others.
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) – a condition that compels a patient into compulsive or obsessive behaviors without rationality. Individuals who suffer from OCD may have certain rituals or superstitions that cause disruption to daily life or relationships.
Phobias – a condition diagnosed due to a deeply concentrated fear of particular places, activities, people or objects. Phobias can incite panic, dread, and trepidation in sufferers, and it can influence decisions and relationships.
Panic Disorders – a physical condition that causes a victim to experience sudden panic and a feeling of a loss of control. Panic disorder is diagnosed after repetitious occurrences of panic attacks that may cause difficulty breathing, chest pains, nausea, numbness, and heart palpitations. Panic disorders present with real physical symptoms, some of which may be severe.
Treatment for anxiety disorders depends on the type and severity of the condition a particular patient suffers from. Psychiatric care is typically required to make symptoms more manageable. Treatment programs may include medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and even deep brain stimulation. Often, anxiety disorders are related to or accompanied by other health conditions or habits, such as alcoholism or depression that must be simultaneously treated to improve chances of recovery.
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