Monday, August 17, 2009

Anxiety disorders

Everyone feels anxious at one time or another. For example, you might be worried the night before a big test. Problems at home or at school can also be a source of anxiety. It is normal to feel this way when you are faced with a challenge. Some people, however, become frequently and unreasonably worried. They might have an anxiety disorder. This is a disorder in which intense anxiety or fear keeps a person from functioning normally.

Many myths surround the subject of mental and emotional problems. One myth is that these conditions are not true illnesses, like heart disease or diabetes. Another myth is that people can just “snap out of” these problems if they try hard enough. The truth is that mental and emotional problems are as real as physical problems. They can affect people of any age.

One type of anxiety disorder is a phobia, or an exaggerated fear of a specific situation or object. You have probably heard of certain phobias, such as fear of flying or of spiders. Some fears are not only normal, but necessary. For example, concern over walking down a dark, deserted street in an unsafe neighborhood is an understandable fear. It shows that you have a healthy awareness of risk, not that you have a phobia.

Like other diseases, anxiety disorder can be treated. Treatment can include medication, counseling, or both. Ignoring your problems won’t make them go away.

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