By: Olivia Lewis

What is anxiety?

Anxiety (noun): A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

It's not just being nervous, and you can't just "get over it."

What are the different types of anxiety?

The six most common types of anxiety are:

1) Generalized anxiety disorder

This is characterized by feeling anxious on most days and worrying about a variety of things for six months or more.

2) Social Anxiety

This is characterized by an extreme fear of being characterized, being embarrassed, eating in public, and being assertive at work or making small talk.

3) Specific Phobias

This is when a person feels extremely fearful about a particular situation or object and may go an extra mile to avoid it.

4) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A person has incessant unwanted thoughts that generate anxiety. They often try to relieve their anxiety by acting a certain way or having certain rituals.

5) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This can happen after a traumatic event happens. Some symptoms are difficulty relaxing, upsetting dreams/flashbacks of the event, and avoiding anything related to the situation.

6) Panic Disorder

The affected person has panic attacks. Panic attacks are overwhelming feelings anxiety combined with many physical symptoms. Some physical symptoms of a panic attack are shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and excessive sweating. If the affected person has recurring panic attacks or fear of having one for more than a month, they're said to have panic disorder.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is anxiety harmful?

Anxiety in itself isn't harmful, but the stress it generates is. Brief episodes of high stress are fairly harmless, but unremittingly high stress can negatively impact the body.

Is anxiety caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain?

No, that's a false theory.

If it isn't caused by a chemical imbalance, then is it caused by a disease of the brain?

Not at all! Anxiety is caused by many different factors such as genetics, environmental and medical factors, and stress.

How do you know if you have anxiety?

There's over 100 anxiety disorders and symptoms for anxiety, but here are a few symptoms:

  • Numbness and tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck tension
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to rest
  • Excessive worrying
  • Heart palpitations

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  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.
  • Anxiety is very treatable, but only 1/3 of those affected receive help.
  • Those who are unemployed report notably higher anxiety levels compared to employed people.
  • About 30% of North Americans have an anxiety disorder.
  • Women are twice as likely to be afflicted with generalized anxiety than men.
  • OCD is equally common among men and women.
  • In 1990 OCD cost the U.S. 6 percent of the total $148 million mental health bill.
  • 1/3 of adults had their first symptoms of OCD during childhood.
  • Over the last ten years, 54 percent of women and 46 percent of men experienced an anxiety disorder.
  • Social anxiety is equally common among men and women.