Anxiety is a normal reaction to a threatening situation and results from an increase in the amount of adrenaline from the sympathetic nervous system. This increased adrenaline speeds the heart and respiration rate, raises blood pressure, and diverts blood flow to the muscles. These physical reactions are appropriate for escaping from danger, but when they cause anxiety in many situations throughout the day, they may be detrimental to a normal lifestyle. An anxiety disorder is a disorder where feelings of fear, apprehension, or anxiety are disruptive or cause distortions in behavior, (Coon, 526); they are psychiatric illnesses that are not useful for normal functioning. At times, an underlying illness or disease can cause persistent anxiety. Treatment of the illness or disease will stop the anxiety.
Anxiety Disorders & Their Treatments
Anxiety illnesses affect more than 23 million Americans, with about 10 million Americans suffering from the most common, general anxiety disorder (Harvard, 1). Common anxiety disorders are panic attacks (panic disorder), phobias, and general anxiety disorder (GAD). Panic attacks can begin with a feeling of intense terror, followed by physical symptoms of anxiety. A panic attack is characterized by unpredictable attacks of severe anxiety with symptoms not related to any particular
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