Anxiety: An Introduction to This Potentially Debilitating Disorder

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  • At first glance, this may look like a simple rise in your stress levels or an increase in tiredness, but if there are bodily changes that are physical, mental or emotional, or a combination of all three, then this could mean that you are already experiencing an anxiety disorder
  • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) notes that these disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting around 40 million adults aged 18 and above — that’s 18 percent of the population

Your life isn’t just defined by the happy highs, such as graduation or getting your first paycheck, but by the lackluster lows, too, including divorce or physical injuries. Although it is normal to be concerned about aspects of your life such as your job, relationships, bank account or health, too much stress and worry can be devastating for your body.

At first glance, this may look like a simple rise in your stress levels or an increase in tiredness, but if there are bodily changes that are physical, mental or emotional, or a combination of all three, then this may mean that you are experiencing an anxiety disorder.

Distinguishing Anxiety Disorders From Everyday Emotions

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines anxiety as a “fear or nervousness about what might happen.”1 However, clinical anxiety refers to a group of disorders that can cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying. There are seven common types of anxiety disorders, namely:2

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Panic Disorder

Phobias

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Social Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


These diseases have their own symptoms, triggers and complications. The most common signs that you have an anxiety disorder include:3,4,5,6

Emotional Physical

Feelings of apprehension, dread or danger, and anticipating the worst

Restlessness

Difficulty in concentrating

Feeling tense or irritable

Feeling that the mind has gone blank

Pounding or fast heartbeat (or palpitations)

Excessive sweating

Headaches

Upset stomach

Dizziness

Frequent urination

Diarrhea

Shortness of breath

Muscle tensions, tremors and twitches7

Fatigue

Insomnia

How Prevalent Are Anxiety Disorders?

In the U.S., numbers related to mental illnesses (anxiety disorders are some of them) are on the rise. Around 40 million adults aged 18 and above, roughly 18 percent of the population, have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders, making these the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. Here’s a breakdown of how many adults in the U.S. are affected by certain anxiety disorders:8

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: 6.8 million (3.1 percent), more common among women

Panic Disorder: 6 million (2.7 percent), more common among women

Social Anxiety Disorder: 15 million (6.8 percent), equally present in men and women

Phobias: 19 million (8.7 percent), more common among women

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: 22 million (1.0 percent), equally present in men and women

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: 7.7 million (3.5 percent), more common among women

In a 1999 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry study, it was estimated that anxiety disorders cost Americans alone more than $42 billion dollars annually.9 Since then the World Health Organization (WHO) has calculated that, in countries of all sizes worldwide by 2030, global costs of treatment, counseling and prescription drugs are expected to rise to an annual cost of $147 billion.10

Good News: You Can Alleviate Anxiety Minus the Health Risks

There are natural treatments and lifestyle practices that patients can follow to help combat feelings of anxiety and stress. You can actually enrich your daily diet with various stress-busting foods, too.

Don’t let these disorders affect you or someone you know. Find out how anxiety affects your mental and emotional health, as well as the various types of symptoms that you should watch out for, along with the natural, effective and inexpensive treatments that may address these underlying issues.

MORE ABOUT ANXIETY

Anxiety: Introduction

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety Versus Panic Attacks

Anxiety in Children

Anxiety During Pregnancy

Panic Attacks and Anxiety

Anxiety Causes

Anxiety Types

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety Prevention

Anxiety Diet

Anxiety Support Groups

Anxiety FAQ


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What is Anxiety?

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