Anxiety is a normal part of life that helps us deal with stress and focus on projects. But sometimes, anxiety becomes overbearing and turns into a disabling disorder.
Anxiety disorders make sufferers feel nervous all the time, becoming so distressed that they are unable to function in everyday life and may avoid certain situations because of it. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder cannot be ignored or “willed” away.
One type of anxiety disorder includes phobias, in which a person is afraid of a specific object or situation. There are two types of phobias: specific phobias, which are the most common, and social phobias.
Specific phobias, also known as simple phobias, revolve around a specific object or situation, such as spiders or flying, that are relatively harmless. People with specific phobias are usually aware that their fear is irrational, but experience panic attacks or severe anxiety with even the thought of facing their fear.
Social phobia involves fear of public embarrassment or humiliation, which may also be related to low self-esteem. People with social phobia are much more than just shy; they experience severe anxiety in social situations and may go out of their way to avoid them. Social phobia usually co-occurs with substance abuse or depression.
With proper treatment, anxiety disorders and phobias can be overcome with the use of behavioral therapy and medications.
For more information on anxiety and phobias, visit Mental Health America.