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.
Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general for more than two weeks and when the feelings interfere with daily activities. Major depression is a treatable illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and functions. At any point in time, 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depression; the lifetime risk is about 17 percent.
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.
- Trastorno de ansiedad generalizada
- Estrés y ansiedad
- Trastorno obsesivo-compulsivo
- Trastorno de pánico
- Trastorno de estrés postraumático (TEPT)
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?
|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|
|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.
Wear 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.
Updated May 2014