Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 7% of children aged 3-17 experience isses with anxiety each year.

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What Is It?

Anxiety disorders are a common mental health concern; they are a group of related disorders that present differently in each individual. However, these disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.

The Science Behind It

When a person is anxious, the amygdala (a part of the brain involved with experiencing emotions) and the limbic system (a part of the brain involved in our behavioural and emotional responses, especially those needed for survival: feeding, reproduction etc.) are overly active.

Risk factors of Anxiety include:

  • Genetics.  Studies support the evidence that anxiety disorders “run in families,” as some families have a higher-than-average amount of anxiety disorders among relatives.
  • Environment. A stressful or traumatic event such as abuse, death of a loved one, violence or prolonged illness is often linked to the development of an anxiety disorder.

Warning Signs

Emotional symptoms:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Feeling tense or jumpy
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger

Physical symptoms:

  • Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
  • Sweating, tremors and twitches
  • Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
  • Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea

Common Misconceptions

Anxiety is a sign of personal weakness

Like other brain health disorders, anxiety does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages and all walks of life. It does not affect ‘weak people,’ nor is it a sign of weakness. Many people avoid outside treatment and support because of this unreasonable stigma, and this perception needs to change.

Anxiety is all the same

There are many types of anxiety disorders, including: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias

Anxiety Disorders will go away on their own

Symptoms of anxiety are persistent and usually require treatment to subside.

People with anxiety should avoid stressful situations.

Stress is unavoidable; anxiety treatments can help people cope with stressful situations more effectively.

Treatments

Each anxiety disorder has its own set of symptoms. Therefore, each anxiety disorder also has its own treatment plan. But there are common types of treatment that are used.

  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (a type of therapy that teaches specific strategies and methods for regulating unwelcome thoughts, behaviors, and emotions)
  • Medications, including anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants
  • Complementary health approaches, including stress and relaxation techniques like meditation

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Medical Disclaimer: Brain Health Bootcamp aims to promote education and awareness of mental health conditions among adolescents, families, and educators. We publish material that is researched, cited, and drawn from sources reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.