Most people experience some degree of worry, nervousness, or fear as a normal part of living. When these feelings become persistent, overwhelming, or debilitating, it may be time to get help from a counselor.

Anxiety can be defined as an unreasonable interpretation of thoughts, feelings, and events. Most anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors. Stress, life events, and traumatic experiences can make anxiety worse.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting around 40 million people a year. Most commonly diagnosed are generalized anxiety, phobias, separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and panic attacks.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Therapy is a proven and effective way to manage symptoms.

Some signs of general anxiety include difficulty controlling feelings of worry, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and muscle tension.

Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are an overwhelming sense of doom accompanied by physical symptoms like rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, shaking, and sweating. Panic is based on perceived rather than imminent danger. Many people report feeling as if they are having a heart attack or dying. Symptoms usually go away after 10 to 20 minutes, though some experience symptoms much longer.

About 3% of the population experiences panic disorder annually. Panic disorder usually occurs in adulthood, but some children can experience panic-like symptoms. Symptoms occur spontaneously, and fearing the onset of another attack is part of the disorder.

Many people don’t seek help because they do not know that panic disorder is highly responsive to treatment. Panic and anxiety do not have to prohibit you from living your life.

Anxiety As Part of Another Disorder
If you have experienced a significant trauma, your anxiety or panic may be a symptom of post-traumatic stress. Anxiety is also commonly associated with mood disorders including depression and bipolar. Treatment helps associated distress as it occurs with various mental health disorders.

Coping with Stress
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or undergoing a life transition, its important to be aware of your stress level and how it’s affecting you. Learning to control your stress can improve productivity and reduce the chance of negative health outcomes. Explore more about stress here.