Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It helps us deal with a tense situation in the office, study harder for an exam, or keep focused on an important speech. In general, it helps us cope and is perfectly natural. But when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it becomes a disabling disorder.

With anxiety disorder, the intensity, duration, and frequency of worry are disproportionate to the issue, and it is often to a degree that disrupts or impairs normal physical and psychological functioning. Anxiety disorder is often accompanied by mild to moderate depression as well as a number of physical symptoms including muscle tension, increased blood pressure, gastrointestinal discomfort, fatigue, insomnia, and irritability. Anxiety disorder is believed to affect about 15% of the adults in the United States (an estimated 19 million adult Americans), thus making it more common than any other category of mental health disorders.1,2

In the field of psychology, anxiety is broken down into five categories of disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Phobias – either Social or Specific1
Subpages (1): Depression