There are several different types of anxiety disorders that range from relatively mild to severe. Those afflicted with general anxiety disorder (GAD) exhibit excessive anxiety or worry most days for at least six (6) months regarding matters such as personal health, work, social interactions, and routine life circumstances. GAD and other anxiety disorders generally consist of the following symptoms:
Anxiety may also present as a panic disorder, a condition where unexpected panic attacks (periods of intense fear) develop and reach their peak within minutes; a phobia, an extreme irrational fear of, or aversion to, an object or situation; or social anxiety, a general intense fear of social or performance situations. While experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, anxiety disorders are characterized by their intensity, excessiveness, persistency and/or disproportionality to the feared object or situation that often becomes difficult to control or interferes with everyday life. Even though the causes of some anxiety disorders are not known, risk factors are thought to include certain genetic markers and environmental situations that include shyness and behavioral inhibition in childhood, exposure to stressful and negative life events in childhood, certain physical health conditions such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmia, female sex, unmarried status, and poor health.
Health professionals are advised to diagnose GAD if the three following symptoms presents: