Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders. It is experienced by youth and adults alike. However, an anxiety disorder is much different than just anxiety alone. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives; it can be from an interaction, trying to meet expectations or having to wait. Anxiety develops into a disorder when it becomes a persistent and invasive fear or worry over situations that may not be threatening or situations that are either not happening or have no way of happening.
Even though an anxiety disorder is experienced in different ways, the most common symptoms are, as stated by the National Alliance on mental Disorder:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Feeling tense and jumpy
- Restlessness or irritability
- Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
- Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
- Upset stomach
- Sweating, tremors and twitches
- Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
- Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea
There are different types of anxiety disorders: Panic attacks are characterized by a sudden onset of extreme fear which feels as if the person is having a heart attack. Phobias are defined as an irrational fear of an object, situation or animal/insect. General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is defined by a constant, exaggerated and chronic, state of worry about everyday life. Social anxiety is characterized by pervasive fear over social interactions and irrational worry on being ridiculed within social interactions. There are other types of anxiety disorders but these seem the most prone to attention by society.
Knowing the facts about anxiety disorder is the first step to getting proper treatment. Having people tell you to ‘get over it’ or being ridiculed for an irrational fear is not helpful; nor an effective form of treatment. Know that anxiety disorders are normal and that more people than not have some form or type of anxiety disorder. Getting help in time can be beneficial when navigating this big blue and green marble we call world. Silence and suffering should never be an option when dealing with mental disorders.
Please visit these sites, for more information and how to get help:
- Anxiety and Depression Association (They also offer resources in Spanish)
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Free Anxiety Screening
Also, remember that NAMI offers NAMI AIR for people who have mental disorders to find support and share their own stories.
You are never alone. Get help. Get support.
P.S. Please enjoy this video on OCD and Anxiety disorders