Common Conditions: Anxiety

Fear and anxiety are part of life. You may feel anxious before you take a test or walk down a dark street. This kind of anxiety is useful - it can make you more alert or careful. It usually ends soon after you are out of the situation that caused it. But for millions of people in the United States, the anxiety does not go away, and gets worse over time. They may have chest pains or nightmares. They may even be afraid to leave home. These people have anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday tasks or events, or may be specific to certain objects or rituals. Simple phobias involve excessive anxiety evoked by specific objects (e.g., marked fear of snakes). As its name implies, social phobias are fears of interacting with others, particularly in large groups. In obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the individual experiences an obsession – an intrusive and recurrent thought, idea, sensation or feeling – coupled with a compulsion – a behavior that is recurrent and ritualized, such as checking, avoiding, or counting. In addition to being helped by pharmacotherapies, anxiety disorders are often addressed by exposure (to the object or event obsessed over) and response prevention –not permitting the compulsive behavior, to help the individual learn that it is not needed.

Public Domain Information from https://medlineplus.gov/anxiety.html and https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics/mental-illness/anxiety.htm