It is normal for every person to feel anxious during challenging events, most commonly described as those that take us out of our comfort zone. Most people can relate to feeling nervous or anxious when giving a presentation at work, meeting new people or taking an airplane trip for the first time. Those feelings are a natural response, keeping us alert and focused.
Anxiety is when those feelings of nervousness transition to distress and can be seen in both mental and physical obsessive patterns that can be debilitating to daily life. Anxiety disorders can affect both children and adults.
Anxiety disorders can affect anyone and can become worse if not treated. Working with a counselor to understand the specific type of anxiety, along with its triggers, helps an individual find a better way for moving forward in life.
Examples of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder. Uncontrollable and excessive worrisome thoughts about many areas of life, including work, relationships, and health, even when there is little or no reason for worry.
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Irrational anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being viewed negatively by others.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Recurrent, irrational fears and thoughts (obsessions) that you respond to by engaging in uncontrollable, repetitive behaviors (compulsions).
- Panic disorder. Repeated episodes of sudden, unexplained feelings of intense fear and anxiety that cause physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness and shaking.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety caused by vivid memories of a traumatic life event that was seen or lived through.
- Specific phobias. Overwhelming, irrational fear and discomfort around certain objects or situations, even when there is no actual danger.
- Separation anxiety disorder. Persistent fear of being separated from one’s parents or home.
For additional information, please visit Mayo Clinic Anxiety Disorder Page.