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Anxiety Disorders

  • Anxiety disorders, like panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, are more common than most people realize. Over 19 million adults in America suffer from these chronic conditions, which can seriously interfere with work and personal relationships. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. It's important to realize that they can also be accompanied by depression, eating disorders, substance abuse or another anxiety disorder, compounding the problem. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.

    Effective treatments are available that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should seek information and treatment right away.

    Types of Anxiety Disorders and Symptoms:

    There are several types of anxiety disorders. Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. The types of anxiety disorders include:

    • Social anxiety disorder (SAD) — is the most common of the anxiety disorders, with 15 percent of the American population afflicted by it. It is characterized by a persistent fear of social or performance situations.
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — is a reaction to a terrifying event that keeps returning in frightening, intrusive memories. The traumatic event could be something you see or something that happens to you directly. PTSD is fairly common. At some point in their lives, 40 to 80 percent of people are exposed to a very serious, traumatic event. At any given time, eight percent of the people in the U.S. have PTSD.
    • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) — causes exaggerated worry and tension over everyday events and decisions.  About six percent of the U.S. population suffers from GAD.
    • Panic disorder — is associated with recurrent, unexpected feelings of extreme fear and dread that strike for no apparent reason, causing a person's heart to race, rapid breathing, sweating, and shakiness. These "attacks" can send people to the hospital believing they are having a heart attack. People with this condition often avoid places where they've had panic attacks, and in severe cases, may become housebound. Two to four percent of the people in America suffer from panic disorder.
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — causes people to become trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are senseless and distressing but extremely difficult to stop. If severe and left untreated, OCD can destroy a person's capacity to function at work, at school, or even in the home. OCD affects more than two percent of the country's population.

    What you can do to help

    If you or a family member or friend is experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, don't wait for the problem to go away by itself. Get help now.

    When you need someone to talk to, turn to Belmont Behavioral Health at 1-800-220-HELP (4357) or 1-215-877-2000.

    Treatment Services - Anxiety disorder

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