What is anxiety?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5), anxiety is characterized as excessive fear of a person or threat or anticipation of future threats and related behavioral disturbances. In the United States, anxiety disorders are more common than any other mental health condition, with just over 18% of adults suffering from some type of the disorder, and just around two-thirds of individuals with an eating disorder also suffer from an anxiety disorder.
There are many types of anxiety disorders, with the most common types being:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – chronic, exaggerated worrying about everyday life.
- Social Anxiety Disorder – intense fear about social interaction, often driven by irrational worries about humiliation (e.g. saying something stupid or not knowing what to say).
- Panic Disorder – characterized by panic attacks and sudden feelings of terror sometimes striking repeatedly and without warning.
- Phobias – certain places, events or objects create powerful reactions of strong, irrational fear.