ANXIETY

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 disorders:

Panic Disorder
Characterized 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 dying.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts or rituals that seem impossible to control.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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.

Social Phobia
Extreme, 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.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
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.