It’s normal to feel anxious when facing a challenging situation, such as a job interview, a tough exam or a blind date. But if your worries and fears seem overwhelming and interfere with your daily life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders and many effective treatments and coping strategies. Once you understand your anxiety disorder, there are steps you can take to reduce your symptoms and regain control of your life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the population at any point in time. They include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorders, and phobias. Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance misuse, and some people are diagnosed with more than one type of anxiety disorder concurrently.
The experience of an anxiety disorder or panic attacks may look and feel different from person to person. Some symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
- constant feelings of worry or edginess
- believing that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way
- anticipating danger and catastrophe around every corner
- frequent feelings of inadequacy or impending failure
- heart palpitations or chest pain
- trouble breathing or choking sensation
- trembling or shaking
- nausea or stomach cramps
- low appetite or binge eating
- feeling detached or unreal