Anxiety disorders are a category of mental disorders resulting in psychological symptoms such as persistent fear. These psychological symptoms can be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as palpitations, excessive sweating or shaking.
Although anxiety or fear are the main symptoms experienced by individuals affected by an anxiety disorder, they can also suffer from insomnia, depression or reduced concentration, which are usually a consequence of persistent anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling very similar to fear, but it occurs in the absence of a precise trigger or an imminent danger.
Anxiety can be described as a mental state of worry and unease associated with the anticipation of a stressful event or a negative outcome, and it can be experienced even if the event or the situation is not likely to happen in the near future. Fear is a feeling that typically occurs when one expects an imminent stressful event or danger, so it is associated with a definite object or situation.
Anxiety and fear are normal bodily responses to stress, and they result in the activation of the fight or flight response as a defensive mechanism that allows the mind and the body to mobilize their resources to solve the problem, eliminate the threat or adapt to the stressful situation.
However, in anxiety disorders, anxiety and fear are triggered at inappropriate times, are more persistent or intense than the normal response to stress and are disproportionate in relation to the trigger.
Anxiety disorders may be caused by excessively sensitized neural circuits that facilitate the propagation of the flight or fight response at times when this response is inadequate and unnecessary.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
* Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder associated with open or crowded spaces, which are falsely perceived as dangerous and may trigger panic attacks.
* Generalized anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety disorder manifested through persistent, chronic anxiety associated with physical symptoms, which occurs in the absence of an identifiable trigger.
* Panic attacks are short episodes of extreme anxiety that occur in situations that are perceived as dangerous or associated with significant negative outcomes, which are typically avoided by the individual suffering from panic disorder.
*Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is a persistent fear and anxiety that occurs in anticipation of uncomfortable social situations, and it is usually associated with a diminished self confidence and self esteem.