Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different. They can cause such distress that it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Not only does it affect a person’s mental health, it can also cause various illnesses such as headaches, migraines, fever, stomachaches and the like. An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be crippling. There are several recognized types of anxiety disorders: Generalized anxiety disorder: This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety. Obsessive-compulsive disorder: OCD causes constant thoughts or fears that cause them to repeatedly do certain routines. Some disturbing thoughts may be eventually become obsessions and the routines/rituals are called compulsions.

A person with unreasonable fear of dirt and germs who constantly washes his or her hands is a good example of a person with OCD. Post-traumatic stress disorder: PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally numb. Panic disorder: This condition causes people to have feelings of terror that strike suddenly with no warning. This may also include sweating, chest pain, choking, and panic attacks. Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others, or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule. Specific phobias: A phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as snakes, heights, or flying. The level of fear is usually inappropriate to the situation and may cause the person to avoid common, everyday situations. Treating your anxiety can help alleviate and minimize the pain you feel. Visit a therapist to help manage your anxiety, see a specialist to help diagnose and reat your problem or engage in physical activities, take up sports or exercise. These can help manage your anxiety and the stress it brings with it – thus helping minimize the pain you experience.

For more information about anxiety disorders visit our website at www.freeofpain.org.