Most of us know what it feels like to get anxious now and then. The sensation of a racing heart or butterflies in the stomach are normal responses to stress. These feelings of anxiety can be motivating or distressing. Anxiety helps us deal with tension at the office, prepare for a final exam or stay focused on delivering an important speech. But, when these feelings become excessive and cause irrational fears of everyday situations, they can develop into disabling anxiety disorders.
The anxiety disorders described in this guide include:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Specific Phobia (Simple Phobia)
Although each disorder has distinct features, they are all bound together by the common theme of excessive, irrational fear and dread. These disorders tend to disrupt individual lives and also tend to run in families.
Anxiety disorders tend to be caused by a combination of environmental, personality and genetic factors. Treatments for all of these disorders are similar and are discussed within the context of each specific section that follows. Psychotherapy and medication can help most sufferers of anxiety to lead richer, more fulfilling lives.