Understanding Anxiety Disorders: Young Adults (SAMHSA)

People with anxiety disorders worry excessively. The feelings go well beyond the typical kind of worry that is appropriate to situations and can help people to focus and be alert. The apprehensive feelings that are typical of an anxiety disorder are felt almost every day, and may be overwhelming and difficult to manage. With an anxiety disorder, you may feel restless, your heart pound, experience muscle tension, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and/or sleep disturbances. These symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with day-to-day activities in school, at work, or in social situations.

Hearing the health care professional say you have an anxiety disorder can be confusing. The good news is that the feelings and stress-related behaviors you have been concerned about are actually symptoms of a treatable disorder. By getting treatment and engaging in recovery, people with an anxiety disorder can manage their symptoms, feel better, and lead productive and meaningful lives. Recovery does not necessarily mean a cure. It does mean that people are actively moving toward wellness.

There are 3 types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, and panic disorders. Some people have milder forms of anxiety disorders that don’t last forever and respond well to treatment. Others with more severe forms of an anxiety disorder may experience symptoms over their lifetime with the specific type of anxiety changing over time or including mood changes. However, treatments for an anxiety disorder that involve medications, psychotherapy, and other elements of an individualized treatment program can help you to be more resilient, manage your symptoms, improve everyday functioning, and help you to lead a full, meaningful life.

A publication from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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