It is estimated that anxiety disorders affect more than 17 million Americans. These conditions, which are considered to be serious medical illnesses, require specialized treatment services. Extensive research in the past several years confirms that there are effective treatments that help decrease and even eliminate anxiety that previously may have been disabling.
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Anxiety is the result of fear. When we are afraid, our body responds by producing physiological symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain or discomfort. These symptoms tend to produce a “fight or flight response” which causes us to take action so that we can be “safe.” Typically ones instinct is to go into a “flight” response, rather than stay and “fight” what is scaring us. Hence, we often times see individuals whose lives have become significantly limited due to avoidance of the situations that are producing the anxiety.
According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), there are 11 forms of Anxiety Disorders. While these disorders may vary in terms of etiology, they share several similar characteristics. For instance, these disorders can cause both physiological and psychological distress.
Without treatment often times symptoms will become worse, impairing one’s social, occupational, vocational, and other key areas in one’s life.