Well in Mind: What is Anxiety?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

What is Anxiety?

We all experience anxiety. Some anxiety motivates us to prepare and practice or keep us alert and cautious. However, when feelings of intense fear and distress become overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause.  All anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent and excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States.

Most Common Anxiety DisordersGeneralized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD produces chronic, exaggerated worrying about everyday life. This worrying can consume hours each day, making it hard to concentrate or finish daily tasks.

Social Anxiety Disorder: More than shyness, this disorder causes intense fear about social interaction, often driven by irrational worries about humiliation. Someone with this disorder may not take part in conversations, contribute to class discussions or offer their ideas, and may become isolated. Panic attacks are a common reaction to anticipated or forced social interaction.

Panic Disorder: Characterized by panic attacks and sudden feelings of terror sometimes striking repeatedly and without warning. Often mistaken for a heart attack, a panic attack causes powerful physical reactions. Many people will go to desperate measures to avoid an attack, including social isolation.

Phobias: Certain places, events or objects that create powerful reactions of strong, irrational fear.

Scientists believe that many factors combine to cause anxiety disorders:

  • Genetics.  Studies support evidence that anxiety disorders “run in families,” as some have a higher-than-average amount of anxiety disorders among relatives.
  • Environment. A stressful or traumatic event such as abuse, death of a loved one, violence or prolonged illness is often linked to the development of an anxiety disorder.

Well In Mind is here for you.  Call 815-933-2240 to schedule an appointment or to ask about your EAP benefits.