Anxiety disorders present in a variety of ways.
- Panic Disorder = anxiety appears suddenly, without an apparent trigger.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder = anxiety comes on more gradually, is present most of the time and involves having multiple worries.
- Other anxiety disorders include specific phobias (fears of flying, spiders, heights, etc.), social anxiety, separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and selective mutism.
These anxiety disorders are partly genetic, but may also be induced by drug use, including alcohol, caffeine, other stimulants, and some medications.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is another manifestation of anxiety. It is characterized by obsessions (recurring distressing unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations), compulsions (repetitive behaviors or mental acts the individual feels driven to perform and are designed to neutralize anxiety), or both. We don’t fully understand what causes OCD. It’s possible that there is a genetic component and then an environmental factor, such as an infection, can trigger it.
Anxiety disorders often happen together with other mental disorders such as mood disorders. They are treated with lifestyle changes and cognitive behavioral therapy, and in moderate to severe cases, medication.