Most of us know what it feels like to get anxious now and then. The feelings of a racing heart or butterflies in the stomach are normal responses to fear or stress. These feelings of anxiety can be motivating to help us function in a stressful situation. But, when these feelings become excessive or cause irrational fears, they can affect function and develop into an anxiety disorder.

Examples of Anxiety Disorders include:

Separation Anxiety Disorder: Age-inappropriate excessive fear or anxiety of being separated from someone to whom the individual is attached.

Specific Phobia:  Extreme fear of a situation (heights, flying) or an object (spiders, seeing blood) and that situation almost always causes immediate fear or anxiety such that the individual actively works to avoid the activity or object.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Fear or anxiety about a social situation (like talking with people unknown to the individual, eating or drinking in front of others) where the individual feels open to possible criticism or examination of others.  The concern is a negative evaluation, rejection or embarrassment.

Panic Disorder: Sudden rush of extreme fear or discomfort that usually peaks in minutes and is associated with sweating, heart palpitations, abdominal complaints including nausea, chest pain, numbness and tingling, dizziness, chills, fear of losing control and other symptoms.  If this is followed by at least one month of continued worry, and affects behavior, the panic attack develops into a Panic Disorder.

Agoraphobia:  Includes people who develop a fear of using public transportation, being in open spaces, being in closed spaces, any of which cause the individual to avoid these situations.  The fear is considered to be out of proportion to the actual danger and affects functioning.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:  Is symptoms that last for at least 6 months of excessive anxiety or worry about different routine events.  The individual cannot control their worry and reports restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability and sleep problems.

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