Most people experience a certain amount of anxiety and fear in their lifetimes. It is a normal part of living.
For millions of Americans, however, anxieties and fear are persistent and overwhelming, and can interfere with daily life. These people suffer from anxiety disorders, a group of five psychiatric disorders that can be terrifying and crippling, but are treatable. Experts believe that anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors, much like physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable.
Fortunately, the vast majority of people with an anxiety disorder can be helped with the right professional care. Alone or in combination, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and medication therapy are effective treatments. There are no guarantees, and success and treatment rates vary with the individual. Furthermore, patients with an anxiety disorder sometimes suffer from clinical depression and substance abuse, further complicating proper diagnosis and prolonging treatment.
The five anxiety disorders are identified as: Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Phobias (including Social Phobia, also called Social Anxiety Disorder).
If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, take an online screening tool for anxiety from Psych Central. If after completing a self-assessment, you would like more information about anxiety disorders and/or treatment options, contact your primary care physician or EAP.