Anxiety Disorders

(Chronic Free-Floating Anxiety)

Definition

Anxiety is a state of dread, tension, and unease. It is considered a normal response to stress or uncertain situations. Feeling anxious for long periods of time or at intense levels may mean that you have an anxiety disorder. You may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder if the anxiety:
  • Occurs without an external threat (called "free-floating" anxiety)
  • Is excessive or unreasonable for the situation or threat
  • Negatively affects how you function during the day
The most common types of anxiety disorders are: Anxiety may occur with other conditions, such as alcohol use disorder, drug abuse, and depression.

Causes

Anxiety disorders may result from a combination of factors, such as:
  • Genetics
  • Factors in the environment
Chemical imbalances in the brain may also play a role.

Risk Factors

Anxiety disorders are nearly twice as common in women than in men. Other factors that may increase your chance of anxiety disorders include:
  • Family member with anxiety disorders
  • Stressful life events
  • Poor coping strategies
  • History of physical or psychological trauma
  • Chronic medical illness
  • Substance abuse
  • History of self-harm as a teenager, with or without suicidal intent

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