Fear is a normal reaction that helps us avoid danger. However, when a person's fear becomes constant or irrational they may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. Symptoms of anxiety disorders include an overwhelming feeling of panic or fear, and physical symptoms like sweating, trembling, muscle tension, feeling jittery, or nausea. Some people report having trouble sleeping.
There are different types of anxiety disorders. People who experience ongoing, exaggerated tension which interferes with their daily functioning may be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sufferers experience recurrent, unwanted, irrational thoughts (obsessions) while also engaging in repetitive, unwanted ritualistic behaviors (compulsions). Common obsessions revolve around worries about dirt or germs, or nagging doubts; examples of compulsions are repeated hand washing to ward of contamination from germs, and constant checking and rechecking to satisfy doubts. People with Panic Disorder suffer from recurrent panic attacks where they suddenly experience intense anxiety and physical symptoms, sometimes out of the blue or sometimes in reaction to a fearful situation (like driving a car). Phobic Disorders are when someone suffers from an irrational, terrifying fear of a specific object, social situations, or public places (like agoraphobia). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs in people who have suffered a severe traumatic event. They often experience nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
If you would like to be considered for a research study, and you live in the Baltimore-Washington area, please complete an interest form or call our office at 410-768-2629.
For more information you can visit NIMH at www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/gadmenu.cfm or the American Psychiatric Association at www.psych.org.
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