Anxiety disorder is a blanket term covering several different forms of abnormal, pathological anxiety, fears, phobias.
It describes nervous system disorders as irrational or illogical worry not based on fact.
Anxiety and fear are ubiquitous emotions.
The terms anxiety and fear have specific scientific meanings, but common usage has made them interchangeable.
For example, a phobia is a kind of anxiety that is also defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV-TR) as a \"persistent or irrational fear.\"
Fear is defined as an emotional and physiological response to a recognized external threat (eg, a runaway car or an impending crash in an airplane).
Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state, the sources of which are less readily identified.
It is frequently accompanied by physiological symptoms that may lead to fatigue or even exhaustion. Because fear of recognized threats causes similar unpleasant mental and physical changes, patients use the terms fear and anxiety interchangeably.
Thus, there is little need to strive to differentiate anxiety from fear.
However, distinguishing among different anxiety disorders is important, since accurate diagnosis is more likely to result in effective treatment and a better prognosis.
18.1% of Americans are affected by anxiety disorders.
We all experience it when faced with situations we find threatening or difficult.
People often call this feeling stress but the word 'stress' can be used to mean two different things - on the one hand, the things that make us anxious and on the other, our reaction to them.
This makes it a confusing word and so it will not be used in this leaflet.
When our anxiety is a result of a continuing problem, such as money difficulties, we call it worry, if it is a sudden response to an immediate threat, like looking over a cliff or being confronted with an angry dog, we call it fear.
Normally, both fear and anxiety can he helpful, helping us to avoid dangerous situations, making us alert and giving us the motivation to deal with problems.
However, if the feelings become too strong or go for too long, they can stop us from doing the things we want to and can make our lives miserable.