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What Is An Anxiety Disorder? - NYC and Washington, D.C.

Anxiety can be a normal part of life, but an anxiety disorder is when those feelings become more than temporary worries and begin to impact an individual’s day-to-day life. Anxiety disorders are characterized by symptoms including intense fear and worry, panic attacks, racing thoughts and difficulties concentrating. Someone suffering from an anxiety disorder can struggle with daily activities such as work, social interactions, relationships and hobbies. It can arise from a variety of different factors including trauma, major life transitions, family history, or brain chemistry and organic factors.

Young people with an anxiety disorder often struggle in various elements of their lives, including socially, in a new job, in school, and with the family. The disorder can lead to isolation from loved ones, changes in appetite, increased irritability and difficulties completing activities of daily living (ADLs).

Anxiety can also manifest in physiological ways and individuals may complain of frequent tension headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, lightheadedness and even vomiting. A signature characteristic of anxiety includes racing thought patterns, which can leave individuals feeling inferior and worried that others are negatively judging them. Another common symptom is an intense feeling of “impending doom.”

While the above symptoms are a general representation of “anxiety,” there are a variety of anxiety disorders that manifest in different ways:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety or worries, occurring more often than not about a number of things including work, social interactions, grades, personal performance, and routine life circumstances.
  • Phobias include intense anxiety about specific things like heights, flying, social interactions, or certain animals. Individuals with panic disorder have recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and experience worry about when their next one will occur.
  • Panic attacks are sudden bouts of intense fear that come on quickly and can include hyperventilation, shaking, a racing heartbeat, sweating and a sense of being out of control. Panic attacks can occur randomly or can be brought on by a specific trigger.

Treating Anxiety Disorders In Young Adults - NYC and Washington, D.C.

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