Anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Phobic disorders, such as agoraphobia and social phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Separation anxiety disorder
Risk factors for anxiety disorders depend in part on the specific disorder. General risk factors include:
- Gender. With the exception of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), women have twice the risk for most anxiety disorders as men.
- Age. Phobias, OCD and separation anxiety show up early in childhood, while social phobia and panic disorder are often diagnosed during the teen years.
- Traumatic Events. Traumatic events can trigger anxiety disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Medical Conditions. Although causal relationships have not been established, certain medical conditions have been associated with increased risk of panic disorder. They include migraines, obstructive sleep apnea, mitral valve prolapse, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome.
The standard approach to treating most anxiety disorders is a combination of talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and an antidepressant medication. Other types of medications (benzodiazepines, azapirones, beta blockers, or atypical antipsychotics) may also be prescribed. A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, adequate rest, and good nutrition can also help to reduce the impact of anxiety.
Review Date: 01/27/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.