Common Anxiety Disorders Explained

Alli Walsh, Social Media Strategist

Common Anxiety Disorders Explained

If you’ve ever felt stressed – and let’s face it, if you’re human, you have – you’ve experienced anxiety. But for 40 million Americans or about 18 percent of the population, anxiety becomes intense or excessive and can have a negative effect.1 There are many types of anxiety disorder and unfortunately, only 36 percent of those dealing with symptoms actually receive treatment.2 Learn more about these common and potentially debilitating, but very treatable, conditions.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

In GAD, those afflicted worry about things or situations more than what seems warranted. Affecting nearly 6.8 million people, symptoms range from mild worry that causes people to avoid stressful situations to debilitating fear that prevents them from living a normal life.3

Panic disorder

Six million American adults deal with panic disorder, a condition that includes unexpected intense feelings of panic and a fixation on the reoccurrence of these feelings. Women are twice as likely as men to experience this condition, which can accompany other disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, depression, substance abuse or even asthma. Panic disorder can also trigger feelings of embarrassment, which prevent many from seeking help for this highly treatable condition.4

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder sufferers experience intense feelings of fear or judgement by their peers, causing them to avoid social experiences or relationships that increase these feelings. The most common age of onset for this condition is 13 years old and although the 15 million sufferers recognize their fears as unwarranted, they typically feel powerless to manage them. People with social anxiety disorder also report waiting an average of 10 years before seeking treatment.5

Specific phobias

Sometimes, people develop very specific fears about certain things or situations. Think fears of things like heights, spiders, or elevators, there are numerous types of specific phobias. Like other anxiety conditions, those who suffer from specific phobias know their fears aren’t rational, but they are unable to control their anxieties.6

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Typically presenting in childhood or during the teenage years, OCD effects 2.2 million Americans. OCD presents itself in different ways for different people, but commonly includes some form of obsessive thinking that leads to the repetition of ritualistic behaviors. From handwashing, to counting, to constantly double-checking things in an effort to decrease anxiety, OCD can have a negative impact on a person’s life without treatment. But those who do seek treatment often find relief.6

Anxiety disorders impact millions of Americans every day, but should not be cause to suffer in silence. Treatment can provide much needed relief and a normal quality of life. Talk with your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms, or visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America to arm yourself with the knowledge needed to help yourself or a loved one.

References:

1,2 “Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.
3 “Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.
4 “Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.
5 “Social Anxiety Disorder.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.
6 “Specific Phobias.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.
7 “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.

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