What is an Anxiety Disorder? An “anxiety disorder” is an umbrella term that refers to a number of different mental health conditions. While different anxiety disorders present in different ways, they are all characterized by a constant and/or overwhelming feeling of anxiety in situations that most people wouldn’t consider threatening.
Anxiety is a perfectly natural response to dangerous or threatening situations, and in many cases it can actually be beneficial. For example, normal anxiety can help you stay focused, motivate you to work harder, and keep you alert. But the excessive anxiety found in anxiety disorders becomes disabling, interfering with your daily life and relationships.
Understanding what is an anxiety disorder is knowing that an anxiety disorder doesn’t look the same for every sufferer. While some people are anxious when it comes to social situations, others have very specific phobias, such as a fear of flying or snakes. Still others suffer severe panic attacks, or have one of the most severe of anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What is an Anxiety Disorder: Types of Anxiety Disorders
- Social Anxiety Disorder - Excessive worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder - Constant and excessive worry for no apparent reason.
- Panic Disorder - Unexpected and repeated panic attacks, sometimes accompanied by agoraphobia.
- Obsessive-Complusive Disorder - Obsessive and unwanted thoughts, leading to rituals that are performed compulsively in an attempt to control the unwanted thoughts.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Anxiety that develops in response to a traumatic event, often manifesting as flashbacks, upsetting memories, and feelings of numbness.
- Phobias - Extreme fear of a specific object or situation that is out of proportion to the actually threat.