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Anxiety Disorders Come In Many Forms


Anxiety disorders are gaining a lot of attention as of late as American public service campaigns call on friends to stick close to their acquaintances with mental illness. The commercials that air on national television touch on the isolating patterns that often develop with anxiety disorders and urge people to seek help for and maintain a level of support for the person suffering.

But, just how prevalent are anxiety disorders in the U.S. and what forms can they take on? According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, this collective condition affects some 40 million Americans. With a number of different forms, anxiety disorder can range from rather generalized presentations to very precise fears and phobias.

The different anxiety disorders are:

Generalized - Affecting some 6.8 million Americans age 18 or older, this form of the condition is characterized by paralyzing worry over everyday things. People with this condition can find themselves blocked off from life by fears that grow from justified to irrational. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, people might actually think they are dying while in the midst of a panic attack.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - With some 2.2 million Americans impacted by this form of the condition, it is the least prevalent of the disorders. This condition is characterized by a compulsion to perform repetitive acts in almost a ritualistic manner. Hand washing or wringing is a common behavior in this condition.

Panic Disorder - This form of the condition involves fears of panic attacks themselves. It strikes some 6 million people and can be rather debilitating. Since panic attacks mimic heart attacks and other serious conditions, people quite often literally believe they are dying while in their throes. In some cases, anything that has triggered a panic attack in the past will be avoided at all costs. For example, driving, eating out in public and other routine things.

Posttraumatic Stress - This particular disorder is believed to impact about 7.7 million people. It is brought on by extreme trauma, such as rape, abuse or witnessing a violent act.

Social Anxiety - With 15 million people suffering from this form of anxiety, the condition is considered quite severe. In fact, this is the form of anxiety targeted by the public service campaigns on American television. In its worst form, people with this condition avoid public situations at virtually all costs.

Phobias - An irrational fear of heights, spiders, snakes and other such things can cause a person to suffer from severe anxiety. This condition strikes an estimated 19 million people and covers a host of different phobias.

Anxiety disorders are more common than many people realize. When the symptoms are strong and they sideline a person from everyday activities, help should be sought. Medical doctors, psychologists and other therapists can assist patients in a variety of ways.

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