An anxiety disorder is a mental disorder that is one of the most common types in America today. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 1 in 10 Americans have or will get an anxiety disorder within their lifetime.
Anxiety disorders include things like social anxiety and simple phobias, such as being afraid of heights or spiders. Most people who have a simple phobia don’t actually have a mental disorder, because their life is not significantly impacted by their fear. For example, a person who is afraid of heights simply avoids being in high places (or at least in places where they can easily determine how high up they are).
Other anxiety disorders include more serious concerns, such as panic disorder, agoraphobia (fear of going out of one’s house), post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Anxiety Disorder Resources
The following sites offer what I believe to be excellent information and further resources about anxiety disorders:
- National Institute of Mental Health’s page on Anxiety Disorders
- Mental Health America’s Anxiety Disorders Page
- DBS Alliance on Anxiety
- Anxiety Quiz
- Mayo Clinic on Anxiety
Most people who suffer from an anxiety disorder don’t seek out treatment for it, preferring to avoid the anxiety-inducing situation, or dealing with it at the few times it comes up in their lives. Some treatments, such as anti-anxiety medication, are very short-acting and can be taken as needed. These medications have no significant side effects, and for many people, are a simple answer to dealing with the occasional bout of anxiety.
Others with more severe types of anxiety disorders benefit from more significant, focused treatment, which can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete, depending upon the person’s situation, the severity of the symptoms, and the treatment approach used.