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Diseases and Indications
Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of serious yet treatable disorders that affect behavior, thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Ranging from depression to panic, mood and anxiety disorders are a leading cause of suffering and impairment. Although they are widespread, they frequently go undetected and untreated.

What are anxiety disorders?
Normally, anxiety rouses you to action. It gears you up to face a threatening situation. But if you have an anxiety disorder, it can do just the opposite - it can keep you from coping and can disrupt your daily life. Anxiety disorders are not just a case of "nerves" - they are illnesses. Experts believe that anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors, much like other disorders such as heart disease or diabetes.

Types of anxiety disorders
There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with its own distinct features:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is much more than the normal anxiety people experience day to day. People with GAD suffer from chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, even though nothing seems to provoke it. When anxiety becomes hard to control and persistent (present for more than 6 months), it can have a serious negative impact on daily activities and general well being
  • Specific Phobias: Many people experience specific phobias - intense, irrational fears of certain things or situations (such as spiders, dogs, closed-in places or heights). Adults with phobias realise their fears are irrational, but facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared object or situation brings on a severe anxiety or even panic attack
  • Social phobia is an intense fear of becoming humiliated in social situations, specifically of embarrassing yourself in front of other people. It often runs in families and may be accompanied by depression or alcoholism. Social phobia often begins around early adolescence or even younger. Social phobia disrupts normal life, interfering with career or social relationships
  • Panic disorder: People with panic disorder experience frequent, unprovoked panic attacks that involve symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, chest pains, dizziness or light-headedness, nausea, difficulty in breathing and fear of losing control or doing something embarrassing. Panic disorder is twice as common in women as in men. It can appear at any age, but most often it begins in young adults. Untreated, the disorder can become very disabling.

Treatment of anxiety disorders
Fortunately, most people with an anxiety disorder can be helped with the right professional care. Some people require only a few months of treatment, while others need a year or more. People with anxiety disorders often have more than one disorder, which can complicate treatment. Equally, substance abuse and clinical depression often co-exist in patients with an anxiety disorder.

Medication can play a useful role in treating anxiety disorders and may be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy. Anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications are often used to ease symptoms so that other therapy can go forward.

Teeth examination being performed at a school in the outback by the staff of the Colgate Mobile Dental Clinic, part of the Health Train
Teeth examination being performed at a school in the outback by the staff of the Colgate Mobile Dental Clinic, part of the Health Train
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