What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders may be diagnosed if you have a level of anxiety that persists for months and interferes with daily life. Anxiety disorders are very common. About 40 million American adults will experience an anxiety disorder in a year.
The six types of anxiety disorders:
- General anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Specific phobias
- Social anxiety disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
Anxiety disorders can affect both adults and children. Adults who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorders recognize that their fears are extreme and not always rational. Children, however, may not be able to recognize that their fears are irrational, which can make the fears seem all the more scary.
Anxiety disorders often occur with other conditions, such as depression or substance abuse, which can mask symptoms or make them worse. There are effective treatments available for anxiety disorders, and a healthcare provider can help you choose the treatment that’s best for you, and address any other conditions that may be present.
Mental health researchers are not sure of the exact cause of anxiety disorders, but they do know that they are real conditions. They do not occur because of upbringing, personality, or character. Researchers are finding that anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including environmental factors, chemical imbalances in the brain, genetics, unhelpful patterns of thinking, and learning. A traumatic event or chronic stress may trigger anxiety, but is unlikely in itself to be the cause of the disorder.