Anxiety disorders are surpassing depression as the most common form of mental illness. Figures suggest that 10 per cent of teenagers and 40 per cent of adults in the U.S. suffers from anxiety.
It’s quite possible that you have experienced anxiety. Anxiety is quite common – and it is not regarded as a medical problem. However, when anxiety disrupts our ability to function normally, it is classed as a ‘disorder’.
While the majority of people will feel anxious about an upcoming exam or a job interview, the symptoms relating to General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) are far more severe, affecting the sufferer both mentally and physically.
This means the sufferer experiences a range of symptoms that inteferes with our normal lifestyle. Attendance at work, relationships with friends and family and sleeping patterns are just some of the aspects that can change when anxiety symptoms set in.
Anxiety is defined as a state of uneasiness and apprehension about future uncertainties. This can lead to fear and anticipation of a fantasised threat or unpleasant situation, which can impair physical or psychological function.
There are over one hundred symptoms of GAD, some of which include:
- nervousness, restlessness, or being tense
- feelings of danger, panic, or dread
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing, or hyperventilation
- increased or heavy sweating
- trembling or muscle twitching
- weakness and lethargy
- difficulty focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about
- digestive or gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, constipation, or diarrhea
- a strong desire to avoid the things that trigger your anxiety
- obsessions about certain ideas, a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- performing certain behaviors over and over again
- anxiety surrounding a particular life event or experience that has occurred in the past, especially indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, hypercondria and phobias are all different types of anxiety disorders and all have varying – and often successful – treatments.