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It's normal to feel anxious once in a while. Certain events and
experiences can cause anxiety. Very common is worry about the
future—if you'll get a promotion, if you're raising your children
correctly, if you'll get the loan from the bank to start your own
However, if those feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease happen
on a seemingly regular basis, and they are brought on by daily
stress, you may be part of the estimated 18 percent of the U.S.
population with an anxiety disorder.
While some people have the capability to calmly surf through life's
worst storms, others react to stress with episodes of anxiety.
Anxiety can be hard to describe. It can feel like standing in the
middle of a crumbling building with nothing but an umbrella to
protect you. It can also feel like you're holding onto a merry-go-
round going 65 mph and you can't do anything to slow it down.
Anxiety often manifests as an apprehension about daily life,
including finances, job responsibilities, health of loved ones, and so
on. Anxiety triggers can be as minor as being late for appointments,
car repair responsibilities, or household chores. People with anxiety
can also worry about their performance in work or school—this is a
common symptom in children with anxiety.
The key to distinguishing anxious feelings from legitimate fear is that
the frequency, duration, and intensity of the anxiety greatly outweigh
the likelihood of the feared event.
The most common type of anxiety is generalized anxiety disorder.
This involves frequent anxiety, worry, and apprehension about
different activities, including the daily tasks already mentioned.
Other types of anxiety are related to specific stressors, and include:
Panic disorder: this type of anxiety is characterized by panic
attacks, or bouts of intense fear or terror that develop quickly and
Social phobia: a fear of being embarrassed in public situations.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder: this is an anxiety disorder in
which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas,
sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to
do something specific (compulsions).
Separation anxiety disorder: fear of being away from home or
loved ones.
Anorexia nervosa: the fear of gaining weight.
Somatization disorder: complaining of multiple physical problems
when there is no evidence of physical illness.
Hypochondriasis: anxiety over having a serious illness.
Posttraumatic stress disorder: anxiety following a traumatic event,
such as death of a loved one, war, or being the victim of a crime.

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