Anxiety Disorders

What is anxiety?

Anxiety occurs when thought patterns are disturbed in a variety of ways, including obsessive thinking, excessive worrying, or experiencing either fear in general or fear of a specific thing or event.

It is rare for an anxiety disorders to occur in isolation.  Most frequently, people experience more than one anxiety constellation at the same time, or they experience anxiety in combination with other disorders such as depression or substance abuse. In fact, it is estimated that depression and anxiety overlap in three-quarters of those who have one or the other. That’s why doctors diagnosing depression know the importance of also screening for anxiety, in order to treat the whole spectrum of symptoms a patient may be experiencing.

What causes anxiety disorders?

Although the exact causes are unclear, scientists believe that several factors, alone or in combination, may contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder.  As is the case with depression, inherited characteristics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors such as stressful life events may all play a role in bringing about an episode of anxiety.

Doctors have classified a number of anxiety disorders, which include a wide range of symptoms: