In most cases, an Anxiety Disorder is a chronic illness and strongly related to subsequent onset of Major Depression, as well as with physical illnesses, such as ulcer, especially if remained untreated (Kessler & Greenberg, 2002). In an international meta-analytic study the pooled twelve-month and lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in overall is estimated to be 10.6% and 16.6%, respectively (Somers, Goldner, Waraich & Hsu (2006). Women compared to men are twice (ratio 1.9:1) at risk (Remes, Brayne, van der Linde & Lafortune, 2016).
Anxiety disorders have very early onset with median age less than 15 years old and prevalence has been sharply rising among youth (Remes, Brayne, van der Linde & Lafortune, 2016; Kessler & Greenberg, 2002). It has been estimated that only 13.3% of affected population receives early or efficient treatment and in most cases among children and youth, Anxiety Disorders remain untreated for approximately a decade (Kessler & Greenberg, 2002).
People feel fear or anxiety in a wide range of stressful situations that they might encounter in everyday life. However, Anxiety Disorders are characterized by abnormal worry, anxiety, hyperarousal and excessive fear and involve specific persistent symptomatology for several months, which markedly interferes with the individual’s everyday activities and behaviour. Anxiety disorders include Specific Phobia, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, among others, which differ in the type of the objects/situations that cause anxiety and differ in related cognitive inferences and distortions (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
The symptoms include persistent fear, anxiety and avoidance behaviours as well as physical symptoms such as trembling/shaking, palpitation, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, feeling of chocking, chest pain, paresthesias, derealization (DSM-5). Assessment of symptoms and diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders require mental health clinical expertise. Treatment involves psychotherapy, other psychological interventions and medication.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical
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Kessler, R. C., and Greenberg, P. E. (2002) The economic burden of anxiety and stress disorders. In Davis, K. L., D. S. Charney, J. T. Coyle and C.
Nemeroff (eds.), Neuropsychopharmacology: The fifth generation of progress (pp. 981-992). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
Remes, O., Brayne, C., van der Linde, R. & Lafortune, R. (2016). A systematic review of reviews on the prevalence of anxiety disorders in adult populations. Brain and Behavior, 6(7). doi: 10.1002/brb3.497