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Everyone tends to feel some degree of anxiety or uneasiness from time to time. Things like speaking in public, taking a test, the first day on a job and walking into a room of strangers are high on most peoples list of most anxious moments. The symptoms of anxiety include feeling shaky, a pounding heart, clammy hands and a quaky stomach. Feeling anxious temporarily is one thing. But when your anxiety is so serious that it interferes with your life and work, leads you to avoid certain situations or keeps you from enjoying life, you may have a medical condition known as an anxiety disorder.

Although the words used to describe this disorder sound scary there are effective treatments, and knowing about the disorder is important since to solve a problem of any kind, you must first recognize and identify it. To learn if your anxiety has developed into an anxiety disorder you will need to know the symptoms. If you feel very anxious and tense even when there is no real danger and this causes significant distress that interferes with your daily activities you most likely are experiencing an anxiety disorder. You may even take extreme steps to avoid situations that make you feel anxious. In addition you will have physical symptoms such as restlessness, disturbed sleep, irritability, muscle aches, gastrointestinal distress, difficulty concentrating, frequent major depression and muscle aches. Anxieties of this kind can severely hamper your ability to live a full and enjoyable life. This can even lead to chronic anxiety and other illnesses triggered by the anxiety. A person with an anxiety disorder will constantly worry about all types of things and always expect the worst. Their distress can be concerning their job performance, relationships, grades at school or any other possible misfortune even though there may not be any real threat.

There are five common anxiety disorders. These include panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia or any other phobia, common obsessions and posttraumatic stress disorder. The two main types of phobias are specific phobias, which is a persistent fear of specific things such as spiders or flying and social phobia, which is a persistent anxiety about social or performance situations due to fear of embarrassment. Common obsessions are found in obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is an illness that affects as many as 6 million people each year. People with this disorder have distressing thoughts or impulses that they feel they have no control over and commit repetitive actions that are difficult to over come. Examples of this include repeated thoughts about being contaminated with germs, repeated doubts about an action they have or have not taken, feeling that items must be arranged in a certain order and repeated picturing of pornographic sexual images. To neutralize their obsessions this person will make up rituals or compulsions that are repetitive behaviors such as excessive washing of one's hands or showering, excessive cleaning, repeated checking of locks, switches or paper work or precise arranging of items.

Posttraumatic stress disorder will manifest itself in flashbacks and the reliving of the even, nightmares and intense distress when exposed to an object or situation. Panic disorders show up when a person experiences repeated feelings of intense, sudden terror or impending doom. Panic attacks can happen several times a week and peak in approximately ten minutes. Agoraphobia is found in people who suffer anxiety about being in places or situations from which it might be embarrassing or difficult to escape such as a room full of people or an elevator. Medical researches have found that both medication and psychotherapy are effective for relieving the symptoms of anxiety disorders. In many cases the two treatments are linked to create a cure. If you believe you have an anxiety disorder your should contact your doctor and ask about treatment. Keep a positive attitude since there is no reason for embarrassment and many people have been successfully treated for these disorders. Also, seek the support of a trusted friend or family member and learn as much as you can about how your disorder is resolved.