What Are Anxiety Disorders?

We all, at one time or another, experienced anxiety, a sense of apprehension or anxiety, in response to stressful situations.  There's nothing"wrong" with such stress.  It's a normal reaction of anxiety which often helps, rather than hinders, our daily functioning.  Without some stress, for instance, most people probably would not have a lot of motivation to study hard, undergo physical examinations, or spend hours in our jobs.  But some people experience anxiety in situations where there isn't any external cause or reason for such distress.  When stress occurs without external rationale and starts to affect people daily operation, mental health professionals think about it a mental problem called anxiety disorder.  Four major type of anxiety disorder are phobic disorder, anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disease.


Phobic Disorder is an intense, irrational fear of a particular thing or situation.  For instance, claustrophobia is a fear of enclosed places, acrophobia is a fear of high places, xenophobia is a fear of strangers, social phobia is the fear of being humiliated or humiliated by others, and electrophobia is a fear of electricity.

The objective danger posed by an anxiety-producing stimulus is typically small or nonexistent.  Yet someone suffering from the phobia, the threat is great and a full-blown panic attack may follow exposure to the stimulus.  Phobic disorders differ from generalized anxiety disorders and anxiety disorders because there's a particular, identifiable stimulus that sets off the anxiety reaction.

Phobias may have a minor effect on people's lives if individuals who suffer from them is able to avoid the stimuli that cause fear.  Unless they are firefighters or window washers, as an instance, a fear of heights might have little impact on people's everyday lives (although it may keep them from living in a high floor in an apartment).  On the flip side, a social phobia, or even a fear of strangers, presents a more serious problem.  In one extreme instance, a Washington girl left her home only 3 times in 30 years -- once to visit her family, once to get a medical surgery, and after to buy ice cream to get a dying companion.


In a different type of anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder, anxiety attacks happen that last from several seconds to several hours.  Unlike phobias, which can be stimulated by specific objects or situations, panic disorders do not have any identifiable stimuli.  Instead, during an attack, anxiety abruptly - and frequently without warning--rises to a peak, and also an individual feels a sense of impending, inevitable doom.  Although the physical symptoms differ from person to person, they might include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, unusual amounts of sweating, faintness and dizziness, gastric sensations, and sometimes a sense of imminent death.  After this attack, it is no wonder that folks have a tendency to feel exhausted.

Panic attacks seemingly come out of nowhere and are unconnected to some particular stimulation.  Because they don't understand what causes their feelings of fear, victims of panic attacks may become fearful of going places.  In fact, some people with panic disorder develop a complication known as agoraphobia, the fear of being in a situation where escape is difficult and in which help for a possible panic attack wouldn't be available.  In extreme circumstances, people with agoraphobia never leave their homes.

In addition to the physical symptoms, panic disorder affects how information is processed in the brain.  For example, individuals with panic disorder have reduced responses in the anterior cingulate cortex to stimuli (such as seeing a fearful encounter ) that normally create a strong reaction in those with no disorder.  It may be that recurring high levels of psychological arousal experienced by patients with panic disorder desensitizes them to emotional stimuli.


People with generalized anxiety disorder experience chronic, persistent stress and uncontrollable stress.  Sometimes their concerns are about recognizable issues involving family, money, work, or even health.  In other cases, however, individuals with the disease feel that something dreadful is about to happen but can not identify the rationale, inducing"free-floating" anxiety.

Because of persistent stress, individuals with generalized anxiety disorder can't concentrate or set their worry and anxieties aside; their lifestyles become centered on their own worry.  Additional their anxiety is often accompanied by physiological signs such as muscle strain, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, or sleeplessness.

In obsessive-compulsive disease, individuals are plagued by unwanted thoughts, called obsessions, or feel that they must execute activities, termed compulsions, contrary to their will.  An obsession is a persistent, unwanted thought or idea that keeps tripping.  By way of example, a student might be unable to stop believing that she's neglected to put her name on a test and might think about it for the two weeks it can take to get the paper back.  A man may go on holiday and wonder the entire time if he secured his house.  A woman may hear the same tune running through her head repeatedly.  In each case, the thought or idea is unwanted and hard to put out of the mind.  Obviously, many people suffer from moderate obsessions from time to time, but generally these notions persist only for a brief period.  For people with serious obsessions, however, the thoughts persist for days or weeks and Might consist of eccentric, troubling images

As part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, individuals may also encounter compulsions, irresistible urges to carry out some act that looks strange and unreasonable, even to them.  No matter the compulsive behaviour is, individuals experience intense anxiety if they can't carry out it, and also if it is something they want to stop.  The functions may be relatively trivial, like repeatedly checking the stove to make certain all the burners are turned off, or even more unusual, like continuously washing oneself.