The term "Anxiety Disorder" is actually a category of four distinct disorders, each with a specific set of symptoms. They include:
- General Anxiety
- OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder
About one out of four people will experience at least one of these disorders at some time. Anxiety Disorders are among the most treatable of the mental health challenges humans face.
Having an Anxiety Disorder is NOT a sign of character weakness. Anxiety isn't something you 'snap out of'. While anxiety symptoms can often be the result of a single traumatic event, or series of distressing events, there isn't always an obvious start to the symptoms. Successful treatment isn't dependent on identifying the cause, though some people feel that knowing the cause is helpful to moving past their struggle. Think of it this way: if you break your arm, knowing how it happened doesn't change the fact that it needs to be properly set and put into a cast to heal. Regardless of how it broke, proper treatment is required.
The most frightening aspect of anxiety to me is the fact that so many people, mainly men, go to great lengths to hide their problem. This is particularly true for soldiers, military veterans, firefighters and police offers. Years can pass between the time a person begins to experience an Anxiety Disorder and the time he or she seeks treatment. That's a lot of suffering. What's worse, many people with anxiety self-treat with alcohol and other substances.
As noted, Anxiety Disorders are highly responsive to treatment. There are many treatment options. This will be the focus of a future entry to this blog.
To learn more about fear phobia and anxiety, please visit the Fear, Phobia, Anxiety Blog