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Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety Disorders

There are several different Anxiety Disorders such as: Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Specific Phobias and Health Anxiety.


Anxiety disorders include disorders that share features of excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral disturbance. Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of future threat.


Anxiety disorders differ from developmentally normative fear and anxiety by being excessive or persisting beyond developmentally appropriate periods.  They are often stress-induced, by being persistent (lasting longer than 6 months). Individuals with anxiety disorders typically overestimate the danger in situations they fear or avoid.


Agoraphobia – Individuals fear situations where the thought of escape would be difficult or help might not be available in the event of panic-like symptoms or other incapacitating or embarrassing symptoms.  Individuals with agoraphobia experience fear and anxiety in two or more of the following situations: public transportation, being in open spaces, being in enclosed spaces, standing in line or being in a crowd, being outside of the home alone.


Panic Disorder – individual experiences recurrent unexpected panic attacks and is constantly concerned or worried about having future panic attacks or will change his/her behavior in maladaptive ways because of the panic attack (e.g., avoidance of exercise or of unfamiliar locations). Panic attacks are abrupt surges of intense fear or intense discomfort that reach a peak within minutes, accompanied by physical and/or cognitive symptoms.


Separation Anxiety – Excessive fear or anxiety concerning separation from those to whom the individual is attached.  Often you might see this played out with excessive distress when anticipating or experiencing separation from home or from the major attachment figure.  Behaviors may include excessive crying, clinging to leg or part of the body of attachment figure, raise in emotional distress, following them seeking reassurance that they will stay. Refusing to go places without primary attachment figure, reluctance in going to sleep or being alone, fear and excessive worry that harm will come to the attachment figure if they leave.


Social Anxiety Disorder – an individual is fearful, anxious, or avoidant of social interactions and situations that involve the possibility of being scrutinized. These may include social interactions such as meeting unfamiliar people, situations in which the individual may be observed eating or drinking, or situations where an individual is performing in front of people. Individuals with social anxiety fear that they will act in a way that will negatively viewed by others (humiliation or embarrassment; interactions will lead to rejection or offend others).


Specific Phobias - Individuals are fearful of, anxious about, or avoidant of objects or situations. (flying, heights, needles, blood, animals, etc.). Individuals go out of their way to avoid the specific phobia and creates significant distress in their daily functioning.

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