Anxiety is an illness which causes people to feel excessive worry, fright, or uneasiness that is out of proportion to the situation. A person with an anxiety disorder is often so disturbed by the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that accompany their anxiety that they limit and restrict their lives to avoid those symptoms. There are different types of anxiety disorders including; panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems in children and adolescents, but they can be managed and treated.

Warning signs of anxiety:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Disturbing thoughts or concerns that are difficult to ignore
  • Poor self-esteem and distorted beliefs about yourself
  • Perceived lack of control over yourself or things around you
  • Panic attacks which include physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart racing, upset stomach, sweating, and fear of dying.

Treatment options:

Therapy and medications are often used to treat anxiety. Counselors use various techniques including cognitive behavioral therapy to address the distorted thoughts that often accompany anxiety, relaxation techniques to calm the body, and behavioral strategies to help overcome feared situations. It is also important to take good care of yourself by getting adequate sleep, exercising, and eating a healthy diet. Only a doctor or psychiatrist can determine if medication would be helpful, prescribe medication, and monitor its use.

Additional Resources:

National Institute of Mental Health

Help Guide

National Alliance on Mental Illness


American Psychological Association