It is normal to experience feelings of anxiety or stress before an important
event such as an exam, a wedding, an approaching project deadline or a big
business meeting. Anxiety disorders, however, are illnesses that cause people to
feel frightened, distressed and uneasy for no apparent reason. Left untreated,
these disorders can dramatically reduce productivity and significantly diminish
an individual's quality of life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America. They
are also some of the most treatable, with a high rate of success.
The National Mental Health Association lists the following as common anxiety
by panic attacks, sudden feelings of terror that strike repeatedly and without
warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of
breath, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, feelings of unreality, and fear of
Repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts or rituals that seem
impossible to control.
Persistent symptoms that occur after experiencing a traumatic event
such as war, rape, child abuse, natural disasters, or being taken hostage.
Nightmares, flashbacks, numbing of emotions, depression, and feeling angry,
irritable, distracted and being easily startled are common.
disabling and irrational fear of something that really poses little or no actual
danger; the fear leads to avoidance of objects or situations and can cause
people to limit their lives.
Chronic, exaggerated worry about everyday routine life events and
activities, lasting at least six months; almost always anticipating the worst
even though there is little reason to expect it. Accompanied by physical
symptoms, such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.
The above information was adapted from the National Mental
Health Association website and has been used by permission.