What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Although anxiety can keep us alert and productive during stressful circumstances, an overabundance of it can lead to serious emotional and physical harm. The most common and treatable type of mental disorders, anxiety disorders, are characterized by excessive amounts of worry, fear, and stress.
The Different Kinds of Anxiety
There are several types of anxiety disorders, but these are the most common ones:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: The most common type of anxiety disorder, GAD is diagnosed from persistent worry or tension in response to everyday events.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Those who suffer from SAD often experience excessive discomfort during normal social interactions, mainly from a fear that they may be humiliated, disliked, or rejected.
- Panic Disorder: This sometimes life-threatening condition is characterized by frequent panic attacks, which occur in response to stress or for no reason at all. It typically occurs along other mental disorders, particularly depression and trauma.
- Specific Phobias: Most major phobias—including fear of animals, insects, germs, and medical procedures—are defined as anxiety disorders
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: This common childhood disorder is characterized by anxiety and stress levels that are abnormal for a child’s age and development, usually related to separation from their parents or other guardians.
Main Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
- Uneasiness, nervousness, and panic
- Trouble sleeping
- Heart palpitations and chest pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Muscle tension and soreness
- Difficulty staying calm and
- Shortness of breath
- Digestive issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to stay calm
- Low energy
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
Common Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can be triggered by a number of things. The main risk factors include:
- Genetics. Although the causes of anxiety disorders are currently unknown, many anxiety disorders run in families. This suggests that genetics play a role in the development of certain disorders.
- Stress. People who take on high-pressure roles or experience intense personal stressors—such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job—are much more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
- Trauma. Children who have endured abuse or witnessed specially upsetting events have a higher risk of diagnosis than children without these experiences.
- Other Mental Disorders. Those with other mental and emotional issues, particularly depression or PTSD, are more likely to develop an anxiety or panic disorder.
- Substance Abuse. Improper consumption of certain substances, including drugs and alcohol, can lead to an anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Treatments
Common treatments for anxiety include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Of the many treatment options available for anxiety disorders, CBT is one of the most consistently successful. This therapeutic approach focuses on identifying, comprehending, and changing damaging behavior patterns.
- Medication: Many psychiatrists prescribe medication to complement therapy programs. Both benzodiazepines and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have helped patients cope with anxiety.
- Residential Treatment: Extended residential treatment can help teens who deal with severe anxiety disorders, especially those exacerbated by other mental conditions or substance abuse.
- Interpersonal Therapy: One-on-one sessions with a trained psychologist or psychiatrist can address the underlying issues that feed anxiety and trauma.
Keep an eye out for symptoms of anxiety. If you’re worried your child may have an anxiety disorder, take an assessment test to identify whether they’re at risk for an anxiety disorder.
The next step is to seek out a professional, such as a certified counselor or medical doctor, for advice on assessing and managing the condition. They can help guide you.
If your child struggles with more than anxiety, such as behavioral issues, then it’s important to look at all your options to determine the treatment that will suit your family’s needs.
will meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age 18.
Of young people with a diagnosable anxiety disorder get the treatment they need.
among adolescents was significantly higher for females (38%) than for males (26.1).
Are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 18.1% of the population per year.