Anxiety is not uncommon and occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders (examples include: flying, heights, receiving injections, etc.)
Seeking treatment can help manage the symptoms and keep them from becoming chronic.
Some common types of anxiety disorders include:
- Panic disorder, which includes distinct, short episodes of severe anxiety
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors are difficult to control
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, which includes re-experiencing of trauma, excessive monitoring or response to situations that are perceived as threatening,-and emotional numbing to avoid negative feelings
- Generalized anxiety disorder, in which excessive worrying is difficult to control
- Phobia, which involve anxiety about a specific situation or entity
- Anxiety during pregnancy
There is not always a clear boundary between normal anxiety and a disorder that requires treatment. When anxiety substantially impairs work, family or social adjustment, treatment may be worthwhile.
Psychotherapy for anxiety disorders usually involves components of cognitive behavioral treatment to help manage thoughts and behaviors that contribute to the anxiety. Different medications and psychotherapies have been shown to be most effective for specific types of anxiety disorders, so getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial.