Anxiety, as long as it does not interfere with the normal life of the person affected, is a normal aspect of growth and development; it is a response system that is ingrained in humans to keep them safe. However, when anxiety reaches to levels where the person’s ability to function normally becomes impaired, it gives rise to problems and is therefore known as an Anxiety Disorder.
This form of mental illness manifests itself as a crippling and constantly overwhelming fear of the trigger or the cause of anxiety. Anxiety disorders can be broadly classified as follows:
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder – This involves constant nagging fears and apprehensions about everything and the feeling is persistent to the extent that the person becomes handicapped.
• Panic Disorder – Here the sufferer experiences acute phases of discomfort marked by an underlying fear of an event or an anticipation of the future.
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Repeated actions or urges to enact a specific act or behavior with no relevance to the existing environment; for example repeated washing of hands despite there being no immediate harm of contamination.
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – This condition arises after an individual has been exposed to a traumatic event which leaves frightening memories and makes them prone to depression as a result of the enormity of the feelings.
• Social Anxiety Disorder – This consists of a set of reactions which include marked degree of discomfort and inability to cope in the presence of others. The person tries his best to avoid any situations where he might have to interact with others because of the fear of being judged by them.
• Phobias – These include fear of certain things or situations and the intensity is exaggerated in the presence of a trigger.
Although the exact cause of how anxiety afflicts individuals is not known, there are certain situations or environments that can be held responsible for the condition. Genetic makeup also plays a large part in those predetermined anxiety attacks. Medication, therapy and counseling are the most often used forms of treatment.