What is Anxiety Disorder?
Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a specific event (such as speaking in public or a first date), severe anxiety that lasts at least six months is generally considered to be problem that might benefit from evaluation and treatment. Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. These feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.
Types of Anxiety Disorders:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Individuals with anxiety realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation but can’t get rid of their concerns. They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Physical symptoms often accompany the anxiety such as fatigue, aches, tensions, difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, etc. Even simple tasks can become seemingly insurmountable with severe anxiety.
- Panic Disorder – Sudden and repeated attacks of fear manifested through physical symptoms such as pounding, heart racing, breathing problems, dizziness, numbness, and bodily pain.
- Social Anxiety Disorder – Extreme self-consciousness in front of others in which a person worries for days or weeks before an event where others will be. The worry is often accompanied by physical symptoms as well.
What Anxiety Disorder is NOT?
Anxiety disorder is not a normal amount of worry, distress, preoccupation, etc. before, during, or after a social event nor is easily rectifiable. Anxiety disorder constitutes a severe impact on a person’s well-being that is persistent and pervasive.
How Common is Anxiety?
18% of the adults in the U.S. are effected by anxiety disorders in a given year although only 1/3 seek treatment.
It's not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Tips for Professionals to Work with Students with Anxiety:
Post a clear syllabus on due dates and assignment descriptions so that students can plan as needed and don’t get increasingly anxious from ambiguity or unexpected requirements. Additionally, prompt feedback on assignments prevents students with anxiety from becoming increasingly anxious when their assignments aren’t given back in a timely manner.
Tutors or mentors can be utilized to help a student plan out their class schedules and weekly assignments which can help reduce anxiety.
If circumstances permit, flexibility with assignment deadlines or workloads could be beneficial to students with anxiety. Increased time on assignments or tests can drastically benefit a student with an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety Disorders - NIH
Anxiety Disorder Fact Sheet - MACMH