Everyone experiences fear and anxiety from time to time. Most people have been through situations in which they felt intense concern or worry about something, but these feelings and situations do not typically occur on a regular basis. Once the reason for worry passes, it is easy for most individuals to revert back to a normal mental state, free from irrational worry. Unfortunately, many people suffer from anxiety disorder, causing them to experience troubling anxiety symptoms frequently. Those who suffer from anxiety disorder may seem to function like ordinary, healthy individuals, but they are often tormented internally by feelings of worry and fear.
Anxiety disorder is actually a blanket term that covers a number of forms of mental illness. Anxiety disorder is classified into three categories. The first category is known as generalized anxiety disorder. This type of condition is characterized by regular feelings of persistent fear and worry. Those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder are not bothered by any specific object or situation; rather, they are constantly in a state of anxiety which is not focused on any specific cause. This condition leads to patients becoming increasingly worried about everyday matters which would not otherwise cause concern. Patients are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder when they have been worried about an ordinary problem for six months or longer. Generalized anxiety symptoms include problems making simple decisions, a lack of concentration, a strained appearance, increased sweating and pale skin.
Phobic disorders are the second type of anxiety disorder. This category is the largest and it includes any kind of irrational fear or worry about a specific object, event, stimulus or situation. It is estimated that between 5% and 12% of the world's population suffers from some type of phobic disorder. One common phobia is agoraphobia, which is the fear of being in a situation or scenario in which escape is difficult. People suffering from agoraphobia often need to situate themselves near doors or other means of escape. They also often develop avoidance behaviors in order to evade situations which might bring about anxious feelings.
The third type of anxiety disorder is panic disorder. Those afflicted with panic disorder experience short attacks of intense fear and nervousness. These episodes are known as panic attacks, and they can erupt very quickly. Usually, the attacks last less than 15 minutes, but they are known to last much longer in certain cases. The attacks can be caused by stress or fear, but they can also be caused by unknown factors. The panic attacks cause the patient to alter his or her life significantly in order to avoid further episodes of panic. Symptoms include shortness of breath, increased heart rate and even chest pains.
Anxiety disorders are a serious problem in society. Since stigma surrounding mental illness still exists, many sufferers are unable or unwilling to get the necessary help to overcome the disorders. Fortunately, people are becoming more educated about the disorders, and they are also learning more about the common anxiety symptoms. Because of this, more people are getting the required help so that they can begin their lives again, free from the constraints of anxiety.