Anxiety Fact Sheet

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year,1 causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty.

Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects about 6.8 million adult Americans and about twice as many women as men. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. It is diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worrying excessively about a number of everyday problems. There is evidence that genes play a modest role in GAD.

Panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults and is twice as common in women as men. Panic disorder…can be successfully treated. It is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness. During these attacks, people with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain, or smothering sensations. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control.

Early treatment of Panic disorder can often prevent agoraphobia [avoidance patterns], but people with panic disorder may sometimes go from doctor to doctor for years and visit the emergency room repeatedly before obtaining complete treatment. This is unfortunate, because panic disorder is one of the most treatable of all the anxiety disorders, responding in most cases to certain kinds of medication or cognitive psychotherapy, which help change thinking patterns that lead to fear and anxiety.

Specific phobias affect an estimated 19.2 million adult Americans If the feared situation or feared object is easy to avoid, people with specific phobias may not seek help; but if avoidance interferes with their careers or their personal lives, it can become disabling and treatment is usually pursued. Specific phobias respond very well to carefully targeted psychotherapy.

Anxiety Treatment: Before treatment begins, a doctor must conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine whether a person’s symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder or a physical problem.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is very useful in treating anxiety disorders. The cognitive part helps people change the thinking patterns that support their fears, and the behavioral part helps people change the way they react to anxiety-provoking situations. Relaxation training is a useful part of treatment as well.

A free CBT Resource: www.StopAnxietyNow.Com

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Peter Lambrou

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Peter Lambrou, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist Anxiety Specialist

Location: La Jolla, CA
Credentials: PhD
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