Many people feel anxious at some point in their lives, such as before an important exam or when called upon to speak in public. Anxiousness is a normal reaction to stressful events, but if anxiousness becomes chronic and excessive, it may be the sign of an anxiety disorder.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders, each with its own anxiety symptoms and treatment options. Some of the most common types are generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social phobia and panic disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by constant and exaggerated worrisome thoughts and unnecessary tension about routine events and everyday activities. The symptoms must have existed without interruption for at least six months. Generalized anxiety disorder lacks many of the more dramatic symptoms of other anxiety disorders and so can be harder to diagnose, but it can include physical symptoms like headaches, sweating and gastrointestinal trouble. Individual therapy is usually the best treatment method for finding anxiety relief and should focus on helping the patient identify stress factors and find a balance between work, family and social obligations.
Post traumatic stress disorder can occur after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event like a murder, rape, mugging, car crash or natural disaster. Those who suffer from this disorder can experience the event repeatedly in nightmares and flashbacks and also begin to feel depressed, angry, irritable, can scare easily and become emotionally numb. Post traumatic stress disorder is treated in a similar manner to generalized anxiety disorder and includes identifying stress factors, coping emotionally with the traumatic event, and developing relaxation techniques for coping with anxiety.
Social phobia is characterized by an overwhelming fear of embarrassment, scrutiny or humiliation in social situations which causes people with the condition to avoid normal social activities. Treatment can include medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy, a type of therapy that concentrates on examining the symptoms and reasoning through them, as well as exposing the patient gradually to the circumstances that cause their panic.
Panic disorders are characterized by a frequent and irrational occurrence of episodes of intense fear, otherwise known as a panic attack. Effective treatment usually includes a combination of psychotherapy and learned relaxation techniques.
Anxiety disorders almost always require professional treatment. It is not usually possible to "just get over it", as it is a genuine mental illness that deserves medical attention. Consulting a doctor and developing an appropriate treatment anxiety treatment program is the first step in overcoming this debilitating disorder.