At some point in life, almost everyone experiences anxiety. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable in the moments leading up to an important test, maybe you get the jitters the night before your wedding, or perhaps you have a case of the butterflies before you get up to speak in front of a group. This transient anxiety is simply a part of life, and while it is sometimes exacerbated by stress, it always goes away.
This kind of normal social anxiety is very different from the anxiety experienced by those with an anxiety disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year.” Anxiety disorders can be debilitating for those who suffer from them, as well as to family members and loved ones.
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
In a sense, “anxiety disorder” is an umbrella phrase for a number of more specific psychiatric disorders. According to the NIMH, anxiety disorders include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety...