Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Most people lump anxiety and panic attacks in together, but research shows that they are not really the same. They both come from the same place in the brain and are triggered by the same basic flight or fight response that everyone has, but they aren’t exactly the same feeling, nor do they generally occur at the same level of intensity.
People who have anxiety can have two different types. The first type is general anxiety. When you have general anxiety disorder, or GAD, you feel anxious, frightened, nervous, and keyed-up, and that feeling is pretty much constant. It may wax and wane a bit, but it’s always with you. It becomes a chore to sleep or to just rest and relax. You generally end up always trying to do something to distract yourself, or you slip into depression and end up doing nothing because you don’t understand why you feel this way.
Anxiety and depression are actually quite strongly linked, and both have a genetic component that causes them to run in families. They are common, with approximately one in every four people in the United States alone suffering with one, the other, or both.
The second type of anxiety is more situation-specific and includes problems like phobias and paranoia. You might feel fine most of the time, but you get anxious when you have to do something specific that makes you uncomfortable. To some degree, this is normal. A lot of people get anxious when they have to take a test or make a speech, for example. When it begins to interfere in your life, however, that’s when it really becomes a problem.