The ABC’s of Anxiety Disorders

"Anxiety disorders" is a broad term; it encompasses six psychiatric (as in real, medical) disorders. Although the symptoms of each anxiety disorder vary in different people, what they have in common is they all provoke extreme fear or worry that interferes with a normal lifestyle.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Excessive uncontrollable worry about everyday issues, including school, work, money, friends and health

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) - (also called Social Phobia): Avoidance of everyday social situations due to extreme anxiety about being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or ridicule

Panic Disorder: Severe attacks of terror, which may make an individual feel like they are having a heart attack or is going crazy, for no apparent reason

Specific Phobias: Intense fear of an object, place or situation, such as riding in elevators, driving on highways or heights, that leads to an avoidance of the object or situation; an individual with a specific phobia will typically recognize that their fear is irrational and inappropriate for the circumstance

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Persistent, recurring thoughts (obsessions) that reflect exaggerated anxiety or fears and manifest as repetitive behaviors or rituals (compulsions); for example, the uncontrollable need to scrub ones hands repeatedly or the insistence on absolute neatness and order

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Several months or years after a traumatic life experience, avoidance, detachment, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and the need to relive the traumatic event