Understanding the Facts

Anxiety helps us get out of harm’s way and prepare for important events, and it warns us when we need to take action.


But you may experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

The term "anxiety disorder" includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.

Facts and Statistics

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable.

Find more facts about anxiety disorders.

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Videos

See what people with anxiety disorders are saying about how they manage.

Watch or download videos on how to manage and overcome stress and anxiety, including how to reduce stress, the differences between normal everyday anxiety and an anxiety disorder, how to recognize symptoms, and what to do if you have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or OCD.

Everyday anxiety or an anxiety disorder?


Everyday Anxiety

Anxiety Disorder
Worry about paying bills, landing a job, a romantic breakup, or other important life events Constant and unsubstantiated worry that causes significant distress and interferes with daily life
Embarrassment or self-consciousness in an uncomfortable or awkward social situation Avoiding social situations for fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated
A case of nerves or sweating before a big test, business presentation, stage performance, or other significant event Seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and the preoccupation with the fear of having another one
Realistic fear of a dangerous object, place, or situation Irrational fear or avoidance of an object, place, or situation that poses little or no threat of danger
Making sure that you are healthy and living in a safe hazard-free environment Performing uncontrollable repetitive actions such as excessive cleaning or checking, or touching and arranging
Anxiety, sadness, or difficulty sleeping immediately after a traumatic event Recurring nightmares, flashbacks, or emotional numbing related to a traumatic event that occurred several months or years before

Researchers are learning that anxiety disorders run in families, and that they have a biological basis, much like allergies or diabetes and other disorders. Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

Got Anxiety?

ADAA T-shirtWear it well: T-shirts proclaim that anxiety disorders are real and treatable. Golf shirt is also available. Purchase through iGive.com, and ADAA will receive an 8 percent donation at no extra cost to you. Other items are available, too.

 

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ADAA is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, OCD, PTSD, depression, and related disorders and to improving the lives of all people who suffer from them.

 

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