Our bodies are programmed to become anxious. In normal, stressful situations, that can actually be healthy. However, a person with an anxiety disorder can have an over-the-top reaction or unnecessary worry that causes physical and emotional distress. This reaction can quickly become uncontrollable and lead to an anxiety attack that causes major physical discomfort. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in America. Typically, an anxiety disorder begins to manifest in childhood and if untreated, can get worse over time.
Research into the biology behind anxiety attacks is underway, but scientists do know that anxiety can be inherited, environmental, psychological and/ or developmental. In the coming years, research on this disease will lead to better treatment and drug therapy.
Signs & Symptoms
You may have an anxiety disorder if some of the following symptoms persist for six months or more:
- Persistent and excessive anxiety and worry
- Restlessness or edginess
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance
Who is at Risk?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 40 million American adults are dealing with anxiety annually. But if you’re a woman, you are 60% more likely to have it. The NIH also says that 8% of teens have an anxiety disorder, but only a fraction of those teens (about 16%) receive mental health care.
Getting help for anxiety depends on the type of anxiety disorder diagnosis. Medication, alone, works well for some people. Therapy works better for others. Still others benefit from a combination of medication and therapy. Sometime people must try several types of treatment before they find the perfect fit and begin to feel better.
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