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Anxiety disorder is a term that refers to several different forms of abnormal and pathological fears that affect 18 percent of Americans. Yup, several signs of anxiety disorders have been reported to affect about 40 million adults in the United States. Unlike the usually mild and brief anxiety brought-on by a stressful event (i.e. writing an exam, speaking in public or attending a job interview), an anxiety disorder usually last for at least six months and can get much worse if left untreated. Mental or physical illnesses commonly occur along with anxiety disorders, alcohol or substance abuse are believed to mask the signs of anxiety disorders but these habits only make matters worse.

Types of anxiety disorders

1)    Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This anxiety disorder is a very common chronic disorder characterized by long lasting anxiety, it is diagnosed when an individual worries excessively about several day-to-day issues such as money, family issues, health, work, school etc and display non-specific persistent fear that something terrible is going to happen. Symptoms include:Fatigue, nausea, twitching, irritability, light headedness, shortness of breath, hot flashes, muscle tension and muscle aches.
2)    Panic Attack
This is when an individual suffers from brief attacks of intense terror and apprehension, it usually occurs without triggering factors. Symptoms include: Difficulty breathing, trembling, dizziness, confusion, shaking, nausea, fear of losing control, fear of death and dying.
3)    Phobias
People who suffer from phobia are usually afraid of a particular thing or situation, which can be anything from an animal (e.g. snakes) to objects (e.g. air planes) etc. Signs of anxiety disorders can vary from individual to individual.
4)    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This is a kind of anxiety disorder that is characterized by repetitive compulsions and compulsions – that is, certain urges to perform specific rituals (i.e. cleaning the apartment over and over). Just imagine the character Monica from the sitcom “Friends” (now you get the picture).
5)    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTDS)
This is an anxiety disorder which results from an individual’s traumatic experience such as rape, combat (soldiers), or near death experiences. Signs of anxiety disorders like this include flashbacks, depression and avoidant behaviours.

Treatment of anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorders are usually treated with medication or specific types of psychotherapy techniques. But treatment options depend on the type of anxiety disorder and the individual’s preference. A doctor must first and foremost conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation before treatment for anxiety begins. You must understand that medication will NOT CURE anxiety disorders, but it can keep them under control while the sufferer undergoes psychotherapy treatment. All medications must be prescribed by a qualified doctor (preferably psychiatrists), with adequate treatment sufferers of anxiety disorders can lead very normal and fulfilling lives. Although these medications can become addictive; it is important to note that before you start taking anxiety medicine, you must personally make up your mind never to allow yourself be controlled by drugs because these drugs were manufactured to relieve/control signs of anxiety disorders, but some people end up using these drugs to cope with their condition.