Glossary of Medical Terms

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a type of mental illness characterized by severe anxiety that interferes with a person's life. Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear, uneasiness, or concern that something bad is about to happen.

Anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder, which involves several months of ongoing physical symptoms that occur along with anxiety.

  • Panic disorders, which involve repeated episodes of sudden fear and feelings of danger or impending doom, along with physical symptoms.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, which involves frequent, repeated thoughts leading to repeated or persistent behavior (such as excessive hand-washing).

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, which involves reliving a traumatic event (such as a war experience or rape) and feelings of numbness and disinterest in daily activities.

These disorders can be treated with medicines and/or counseling. 

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