Common Questions about Anxiety
What is an anxiety disorder?
Most of us experience a certain amount of fear and anxiety throughout our lives. However, someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) suffers from persistent, excessive, and uncontrollable worry and anxiety, even when there may be nothing to worry about. Those with GAD always anticipate the worst will happen, and tend to worry the most about health, work, money or family. This intense anxiety occurs frequently throughout most days, and interferes with the individual's ability to participate in relationships, careers, and other aspects of life. Common physical symptoms of this disorder include: fatigue, headaches, muscle tension and aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating or hot flashes. Many people with GAD also have trouble concentrating, sleeping, and startle easily.
What is the difference between feeling stress and having an anxiety disorder?
Stress is generally caused by situational factors. An anxiety disorder can occur independently of any outside cause or source. Symptoms of anxiety can also be precipitated by substance abuse.
What are the different types of anxiety disorders?
In addition to GAD, anxiety disorders include:
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Visit www.NAMI.org/helpline/anxiety9909.html for more information about these disorders.
How common are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United State, affecting about 4 million people a year.
How are anxiety disorders treated?
They are treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Patients are taught strategies to manage anxiety symptoms and combat anxiety-producing thoughts and avoidant behaviors, while the medication is used to control the symptoms of anxiety.
Where can I get help for anxiety disorders?
The best place to start is with a visit to your doctor who will perform a thorough evaluation to determine whether your symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder or another medical condition. Because anxiety disorders are not all treated the same, it will be important for your doctor to pinpoint if you have GAD or another anxiety disorder to determine the best course of treatment for you. Psychiatric professionals are best suited to diagnose and treat anxiety.
If you live in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, The Providence Center can help. Please visit our Adult Counseling services page to get help.