Anxiety Disorder

What is it?

Everyone experiences anxiety at some time – anxiety can be quite useful in helping a person to avoid dangerous situations and motivate the solving of everyday problems. Anxiety can vary in severity from mild uneasiness to a terrifying panic attack. Anxiety also can vary in how long it lasts, from a few minutes to many years. An anxiety disorder differs from normal anxiety in the following ways:

  • It is more intense
  • It is long-lasting
  • It interferes with the person’s work, activities or relationships

Anxiety disorders tend to begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. The median age of onset is 11 years, which means half the people have their first episode by this age. Anxiety disorders often occur with mood disorders and substance use disorder. Anxiety disorders are more common in females than in males. 

Signs and Symptoms: 
  • Overwhelming, unfounded anxiety and worry about things that may go wrong or one's inability to cope, accompanied by multiple physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety or tension occurring more days than not for at least six months
  • Excessive worry about money, health, family and work, even when there are no signs of trouble
  • Anxiety is difficult to control
  • Intolerance of uncertainty
  • Belief that worry is a helpful way to deal with problems and poor problem-solving skills
  • Difficulty concentrating at school, work or functioning at home
Support Strategies: 
  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies
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