Between 20 and 30 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders, in which people are plagued by persistent feelings of threat and of anxiety about everyday problems of living, are characterized by fatigue, back pains, headaches, feelings of unreality, a sensation of weakness in the legs, and fear of losing control. Generalized anxiety disorders can last for more than six months and typically result in excessive worry about two or more personal problems. Three major types of anxiety disorders are phobias, panic attacks, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Phobias A phobia is a deep and persistent fear of a specific object, activity, or situation, and results in a compelling desire to avoid the source of fear. Experts estimate that one of eight American adults suffers from phobias. Phobias are also thought to be more prevalent in women than in men. Simple phobias, such as fear of spiders, fear of flying, and fear of heights, can be treated successfully with behavioral therapy. Social phobias(fears that are related to interaction with others), such as fear of public speaking, fear of inadequate sexual performance, and fear of eating in public places, require more extensive therapy.

Panic Attacks A panic attack is the sudden onset of disabling terror. Symptoms include shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, shaking, choking, trembling, and heart palpitations. A victim of a panic attack may feel that he or she is having a heart attack. Panic attacks may have no obvious link to environmental stimuli, or they may be learned responses to environmental stimuli. Researchers believe that panic attacks are caused by some physiological change or biochemical imbalance in the brain and are still searching for the mechanisms that trigger such attacks.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD) afflicts some victims of severe traumas such as rape, assault, war, or airplane crashes. PTSD manifests itself in terrifying flashbacks to the sufferer’s trauma.

When correctly diagnosed, anxiety disorders are treatable, usually through a combination of methods. Because undiagnosed diabetes, heart conditions, and endocrine disorders can mimic anxiety disorders, doctors recommend a thorough physical examination to rule out physical causes. If it is established that the causes are not physical, treatment usually consists of psychotherapy combined with medication.

After a while, people suffers from anxiety disorder due to depression becomes a vicious cycle in which a person may feel helpless or trapped. Sometimes she believes that the only way out is through death.

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