Initial Assessment for Anxiety Disorders
Everyone feels nervous every now and again, it’s a normal emotion. Many feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, making an important decision or taking a test. But, anxiety disorders are different. They are a group of mental illnesses that can cause so much distress that your whole life can be disrupted.
Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term that can include different conditions, such as:
- Panic disorder- feelings of terror strike at random and you may feel like you’re having a panic attack. You may feel chest pains and palpitations or a choking sensation.
- Social anxiety disorder- also called social phobias, social anxiety disorder is characterized by an overwhelming worry about everyday situations.
- Specific phobias- feelings of fear and terror surrounding specific objects or situations such as snakes or flying. The fear goes above and beyond what’s situationally appropriate and gets in the way of your life.
- Generalized anxiety disorder- you may feel an excessive and unrealistic worry or tension with little to no reason.
All the anxiety disorders share some of the same general symptoms. If you are experiencing anything within the anxiety family, you may feel:
- Panic, fear or uneasiness
- Not being able to stay calm
- Sleep problems
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Tense muscles
- Cold, sweaty, numb, or tingling hands and/or feet
The exact causes of anxiety disorders. Like other forms of mental illness, these disorders may stem from a combination of things. These things can include changes in your brain and environmental stressors. Genetics may even play a part. Anxiety disorders can run in families and be linked to faulty circuits in the brain the control fear.
It’s estimated that in any given year, roughly 18 percent of the population suffers from anxiety disorders. Women are more likely than men to experience anxiety disorders. There are some conditions that are related to anxiety disorders with some symptoms that overlap. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) and adjustment disorder may also be included in your diagnosis.