Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental illness out there, and it takes a lot of different forms. Experiencing some level of anxiety is a normal part of being human, but for people who have an anxiety disorder the worry or fear do not go away, and get worse over time. Some people experience generalized anxiety, where the negative thoughts and feelings are present in a variety of circumstances, while others experience social anxiety, anxiety in crowds, and sexual anxiety, just to name a few. Anxiety can cause intense and prolonged feelings of fear and distress that occur out of proportion to the threat or danger at hand. Anxiety is treatable.

Each person is unique, and should explore their options and select for themselves the most effective coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety. That being said, many people have found successful treatment for anxiety through things like psychotherapy (often Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), support groups, medication, spiritual and indigenous approaches to healing, and stress management and relaxation techniques.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, affecting 18% of the population

National Institute of Mental Health

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Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Thoughts:

A person with anxiety might think things like:

  • “I feel restless all the time and can’t calm myself down. My mind is running a million miles an hour.”
  • “Everything is bugging me — every tiny thing is infuriating!”
  • “I can’t stop thinking about “x” even though I know I’ve done everything I can.”
  • “Everyone is judging me. They all know I’m not worthy of being here.”

Feelings:

A person with anxiety might feel:

  • Restless and/or wound-up
  • Exhausted (or, can’t sleep)
  • Irritable
  • Muscle tension
  • Generalized or specific fear

Most people develop symptoms of anxiety disorders before age 21

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Additional Resources

Half of Us Created by the Jed Foundation and MTV-U, this college-aged specific website was created because half of all college students say they have been so depressed they couldn't function at some point during the last school year. The site offers facts around depression, tips for taking action, helping a friend, and finding resources for those experiencing depression, anxiety, and body image issues. It includes text and call lines for immediate assistance and a number of videos from college-aged students as well as celebrities who share their experiences and tips for coping. Go to site
Mental Health America Leading nonprofit providing mental health support, recovery and advocacy. Have a number of resources specific to school and workplace wellness and extensive policy and advocacy information. Their prevention campaign, B4Stage4 encourages mental health screenings and statistics to change the way we think about mental health.  Go to site
National Institute of Mental Health Extensive information and research transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses for prevention, recovery, and cure. Offers health information specific to age and gender. Go to site
Psychology Today Offers featured columns and articles on relationships, mental health education (including coping with trauma as an adult), and work related issues. Has recent mental health news and archives. Includes a comprehensive national therapist database in Canada and the US for therapist listings in most cities. Go to site
Anxiety.org Thorough and user-friendly site with easy-to-read descriptions of illnesses useful for diagnosis, with relevant and up to date articles on a number of topics and from a variety of sources. Offers tips for nutrition, alternative treatment methods, and a featured mobile App to record anxiety levels monitor daily triggers. Go to site
The Mighty Supportive page using the power of stories to create strength of communities and capture the beauty of the human spirit. Have a section dedicated to Generalized Anxiety Disorder that consists of various writers sharing their personal experiences, setbacks, and successes. Includes helpful list articles such as 'Mantras to Get People Through Anxiety' 'Songs to Listen to When You're Feeling Anxious' 'Ways Not to Talk About Anxiety'. Go to site
Anxiety and Depression Association of America Links and advice on treatment options, with a database to search the therapist nearest you (in 13 different countries). Provides brief overviews and facts of Anxiety disorders, OCD, PTSD and related illnesses, with links to news and research articles. Offers a membership for researchers and professionals to network, share research and promote practices. Go to site
SAMHSA: Understanding Anxiety Disorders for Young Adults + Caregivers For young adults: This great four-page online fact sheet gives young adults information on living with anxiety disorders, discusses causes and treatment approaches, and provides a list of helpful resources. For Caregivers: Provides a general overview of anxiety disorders in youth and young adults, gives guidance on how to provide support, and highlights recommended treatment approaches. Includes a list of helpful resources. Go to site

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