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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety disorder refers to five major disorders and specific phobias. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder fall under the category of anxiety disorders.

Determining whether someone is experiencing everyday anxiety versus an anxiety disorder is predicated on behavior and thought pattern. For example, a person exhibiting everyday anxiety may worry about paying bills, landing a job, or breaking up with a partner.

However, a person with anxiety disorder may exhibit the type of worry that can’t be substantiated, but that interferes with daily life activities.

In addition, a person exhibiting everyday anxiety may be self-conscious or feel awkward in social situations; however, a person who has an anxiety disorder may avoid social situations out of fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated.

Some fears are realistic and some fears are irrational and are based upon a need to avoid situations that are believed to pose as a threat.

It is important to be aware of the differences between everyday anxiety and anxiety disorder to ensure proper diagnosis and effective treatment. Researchers believe that anxiety disorders are typically characteristic of family predispositions and also have a biological basis.

Anxiety disorders may develop from multiple risk factors, which include genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

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