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What Are Anxiety Disorders?

If you have anxiety that doesn’t go away over time and actually gets worse, that’s an anxiety disorder. The symptoms of an anxiety disorder can interfere with your daily activities such as work and school performance and relationships. Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

If you are suffering from GAD, you worry about ordinary issues such as health, work, money, and family. But you worry excessively and you’ve had them almost every day for at least 6 months.

 People with GAD may:

  • Excessively worry about everyday things
  • Have trouble controlling their nervousness or worries
  • Realize that they worry more than they should
  • Feel restless and have a problem relaxing
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Are easily startled
  • Have a problem falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feel tired all the time or tire easily
  • Have muscle aches, headaches, stomachaches or  other unexplained pains
  • Have difficulty swallowing
  • Twitch or tremble
  • Feel “on edge” or irritable
  • Feel lightheaded, sweat a lot, or feel out of breath
  • Have to go to the bathroom frequently

The risk for GAD can run in families. There are several parts of the brain and biological processes that play an important part in fear and anxiety. Thus, people that suffer from general anxiety disorders should seek treatment at anxiety treatment centers.

Panic Disorder

Simply put, people with panic disorders have panic attacks. These are sudden, repeated intervals of intense fear when there isn’t any danger. Panic attacks come on quickly and can last for several minutes or longer. You might feel like you’re losing control. There might also be physical symptoms such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Sweating
  • Feeling overheated or a cold chill
  • Numb or tingly hands

Panic attacks can happen anywhere, anytime and without any warning. Some individuals live in fear of another attack and avoid places where they’ve had an attack. This fear takes over the lives of some people and they can’t leave their home.

This anxiety disorder is more common in women than men. Usually, it begins when people are young adults. It sometimes starts when a person is under a lot of stress. Most people that suffer from panic attacks get better with treatment at anxiety treatment centers.


Individuals with phobias have intense fears of things that offers little or no real danger. The fear may be about flying, crowded places, spiders, or social situations (known as social anxiety). 

There are a lot of specific phobias such as:

  • Acrophobia–a fear of heights
  • Agoraphobia–fear of public places
  • Claustrophobia–fear of closed-in places
  • Gephyrophobia–fear of tunnels and bridges
  • Aquaphobia–the fear of water
  • Aerophobia–fear of flying
  • Hemophobia–fear of blood

People with phobias often try to avoid whatever they’re afraid of. It that’s not possible, they may experience:

  • Fear and panic
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • A strong eagerness to get away

Typically, phobias start in children or teens and continue into adulthood. The origination of specific phobias is not known, but sometimes they run in families. Most people with phobias are helped with treatment at anxiety treatment centers. Treatment options include therapy, medicines, or both.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

With social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, simple, everyday interactions with others causes serious anxiety, self-consciousness, and embarrassment because of the fear of being judged negatively by others. SAD can be a chronic mental health condition, but learning coping skills in therapy and taking medications can help improve the ability to interact with others. See a mental health professional if you are afraid of and avoid normal social engagements because they cause you embarrassment, worry, or panic.

Treatments for Anxiety Disorders

The main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy (also called talk therapy), medicines, or both:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that is used frequently to treat anxiety disorders. This approach teaches you different ways of thinking and behaving. It helps you change how you respond to the things that cause you to feel anxious and fearful. Often, it includes exposure therapy where you confront your fears so that you will eventually be able to do the things you were avoiding.


The medicines used to treat anxiety disorders include anti-anxiety medications and some antidepressants. Some types may work better for specific types of anxiety disorders. You will need to work closely with your health care provider to find which medication is best for you. Occasionally, a person will need to try more than one medication before finding the right one.

Currently, researchers are exploring ways in which complementary and unifying approaches might reduce anxiety or help people cope with it. Some of the studies have focused on the anxiety people experience in day-to-day life or during stressful circumstances while others have pinpointed anxiety disorders.


  • meditation
  • hypnosis
  • relaxation therapies
  • music therapies


  • acupuncture
  • massage
  • spinal manipulation

Combinations, such as Physical and Psychological

The psychological and physical approaches include what used to be called mind and body practices.

  • yoga
  • tai chi
  • dance therapy
  • art therapy
  • mindful eating (psychological and nutritional).
  • Relaxation techniques can reduce anxiety in individuals with chronic medical problems and people who are having medical procedures. But, CBT may be more helpful than relaxation techniques in treating some types of anxiety disorders.
  • Some studies imply that acupuncture can reduce anxiety but the research has been too limited to reach definite conclusions.
  • Hypnosis has been studied and some research has shown positive results but overall evidence is not conclusive.
  • Studies of people with cancer or other medical conditions found that massage therapy helped to reduce anxiety but there hasn’t been enough research on massage therapy for anxiety disorders.
  • Reiki and therapeutic touch have not been found to be beneficial for anxiety disorders.