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What Are Anxiety Disorders?
The term "anxiety disorder" is a general term covering a spectrum of disorders including, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Selective Mutism, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobia, and Social Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety disorders can arise from a variety of psychological, physical, genetic, and environmental factors.
All human beings encounter normal levels of anxiety and fear in response to day-to-day circumstances. When levels of anxiety and fear are excessive, they have an impact on our physical and psychological well-being. Essentially, excessive anxiety and/or excessive fear disrupt our ability to function at our best. When this occurs on a recurrent basis for a period of six months or longer, an anxiety disorder may be present and merits investigation with a licensed mental health professional.
Untreated anxiety disorders can lead to social isolation, avoidance of specific environments or situations, inability to work in the workplace, relationship difficulties, and more depending on the type and severity of the disorder.
According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), "anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population)." Additionally, "anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment."
General symptoms can include any one or a combination of the following; however, each specific type of anxiety disorder has its own set of common signs or symptoms.
Generally speaking, anxiety disorders are treated by a variety of psychotherapies that are responsive to the specific type of anxiety disorder. Treatment may or may not include medications. Medications do not cure anxiety disorders but can be effective in managing symptoms of a disorder while an individual undergoes psychotherapy. For treatment information specific to the various types of anxiety disorders, please visit our resource pages for each specific type of anxiety disorder.
We have also provided a series of materials below that you may find helpful in seeking general information. For specific information about your situation, please seek the assistance of a licensed professional therapist who specializes in Anxiety Disorders.
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