University Health and Counseling Services


Anxiety Disorders

Many people experience anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation or first date. Anxiety disorders, however, are illnesses that cause people to feel frightened, distressed and uneasy for no apparent reason. Without treatment they can impact a person's functioning and quality of life.

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses in America with more than 23 million people affected each year

There are several kinds of anxiety disorders. They include:

Generalized Anxiety – chronic, excessive worry about everyday activities that interferes with daily routine;

Panic Disorder – characterized by panic attacks and sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. Can include physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, feelings of unreality, and fear of dying;

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts or rituals that seem impossible to control

Phobia – Extreme and irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger and causes avoidance of objects or situations

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – persistent symptoms that occur after a traumatic event such as war, rape, child abuse. Can include nightmares, flashbacks, depression, being easily startled and feeling angry/irritable

There are many treatment options. The most effective treatment for anxiety combines medication and psychotherapy. Medication can effectively treat the physiological symptons of anxiety while psychotherapy can provide cognitive-behavioral techniques to help master the symptoms of anxiety.

Counseling Services (780-4050) provides psychotherapy for the treatment of anxiety. Health Services (780-5411) can provide evaluation for medication in the treatment of anxiety.

(information source: NIMH)