There are several types of anxiety disorders. However, the main anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety disorder)
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year. These disorders cause individuals to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Brief anxiety that can be caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), is very mild in comparison with anxiety disorders which last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make symptoms worse. In some cases, treatment for alcohol or substance abuse needs to occur before a person will respond to treatment for an anxiety disorder. Each individual anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all of the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. (nimh.com)
Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. Some effective treatments for anxiety disorders include psychotherapy, aerobic exercise and medications. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has indicated that certain psychotherapy techniques known as behavioral therapies or cognitive behavioral therapies are most useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves examining connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This examination is helpful in teaching individuals to address their fears by modifying the way he or she thinks and responds to stressful events. Relaxation techniques, including meditation, are also useful for people with anxiety disorders to help decrease their stress and to help them cope with severe worrying.
Further, the importance of having a good diet and getting enough sleep are known to decrease symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. Regular exercise has also been scientifically proven to be effective and is essential to coping with anxiety disorders.