Anxiety Disorders

This is a collection of problems that involve, in one way or another, excessive worry, fear, avoidance and irritability.

Examples are:

Panic attacks where the heart races, people break out in a sweat and they can, literally, feel they are about to die;

Agoraphobia characterized by extreme fear of leaving home or of deviating from a highly prescribed pattern of travel (for example, to work and back but nowhere else);

Social phobia where people are so anxious in the presence of unfamiliar others that they avoid social situations;

Various phobias where people have strong fears that are out of proportion and often related to objects, animals, reptiles or insects, experiences (flying or heights), needles, or the sight of blood (as only a few examples);

Obsessive compulsive disorder where, for example, people perform certain acts repetitively (hand washing, repeating a certain string of numbers, touching a certain object – there are endless examples) in the belief that doing so will prevent some feared event or consequence;

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which emerges after a person has witnessed or experienced an event where they feared for their life (or another’s) and felt they could do nothing to save themselves (or the other person). PTSD is characterized by intrusive memories (flashbacks) of the event just as if it were happening all over again, avoidance of anything that reminds them of the event (sounds, places, or smells), emotional numbing, lack of concentration, sleep disturbances and nightmares, explosive anger and jumpiness (easily startled).

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