Anxiety disorder is a common, often debilitating, mental health diagnosis that causes intense, uncontrollable, and irrational worrying and/or fear. Anxiety affects how someone thinks, feels, and acts; and interferes with their ability to function and enjoy life. It's common for people suffering from anxiety to feel unable to cope with everyday situations as well as to experience feelings of restlessness and irritability. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms like upset stomach, chest pain, difficulty breathing, pounding heartbeats, feelings of dread, and headaches or migraines.

Key Things to Know About Anxiety

  • Anxiety disorder is one of the most common types of mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults—nearly one in three people.
  • Anxiety starts when certain parts of your brain become wired to be in a state of heightened alertness for situations that may be dangerous, even when there is no real danger present.
  • For some people, anxiety is a constant "fight or flight" feeling often characterized by feelings of impending doom. Other people's anxiety manifests as more avoidance-type behaviors.
  • Both children and adults can suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety does not have to interfere with your life if you are proactive in seeking treatment.

Treatments include:

  • Therapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
  • Medication

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