People with anxiety disorders experience excessive anxiety, fear or worry, which makes them avoid certain situations or develop compulsive rituals to ease their anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental illnesses. Recognizing symptoms early and learning to manage the symptoms will help prevent secondary disorders, such as depression or substance abuse.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a very common anxiety disorder. People with OCD experience persistent and repetitive thoughts, ideas, impulses, and images that are perceived as intrusive and inappropriate and cause anxiety or distress. These thoughts lead to rituals (compulsions) that the person repeats, sometimes for hours a day.
A phobia is another type of anxiety disorder. Phobias are marked by a persistent fear of particular objects or situations, such as flying, heights or animals. When faced with that particular object or situation, people are overwhelmed by unreasonable fears that they cannot control.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is marked by distressing recollections of a life-threatening event. A common symptom is experiencing flashbacks during which the person relives a terrifying experience.