If you are depressed or anxious about your job, your home, your relationships, your life – you may be suffering from anxiety. Additionally, if you have trouble sleeping, find it difficult to focus, or find yourself becoming upset and agitated at the smallest things, it may be time to seek a diagnosis for your problem.

Anxiety disorder is a chronic, physiological condition characterized by an excessive and persistent sense of apprehension or trepidation. It physically manifests itself in ways as varied as – dry mouth, frequent urination, nausea, heart palpitations, stuttering, trouble falling asleep, extreme shyness, and more. Emotionally, you may feel an overwhelming sense of panic, fear and apprehension far out of proportion to the event causing those feelings.

In some cases, the overwhelming feelings of anxiety becomes so intensive that you can no longer perform normal, every day activities. You become immobilized by a general sense of fear and dread. You may, in effect, become a prisoner in your own home because of fear of the outside world.

If you have generalized anxiety disorder (i.e., GAD) – you may be unable to stop your mind from running. You just can’t turn it off – no matter what. You worry about the most trivial things and you can’t prevent yourself. This, in turn, makes you even more anxious. It’s a vicious and debilitating cycle.

Stressful events can amp up the effects of GAD even more. A person with GAD who is experiencing a truly traumatic event such as a job loss or one who is going through a divorce or separation will experience the anxieties at an even deeper level than those with normal GAD.

Often but not always, people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression. Anxiety and depression are both recognized as mental disorders that have similar causes but very different symptoms. It’s also not unusual for those with anxiety disorders to experience panic attacks and other forms of anxiety.

Currently, It’s not known what the exact cause of anxiety disorder is but a large number of studies point to heredity as being a huge factor. Also, frequent drug use, while not identified as a causal agent, does appear to aggravate anxiety tendencies that are already present.

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms or suspect that you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, you should know that help and effective treatment is available. Start by contacting your regular doctor or health professional for a recommended anxiety disorder specialist. Effective treatment is nearly always available for this disorder.

Fortunately, in today’s society, anxiety disorder no longer has the negative social stigma that it once had. Today’s psychiatrists have a much greater wealth of research materials to draw upon in diagnosing and treating patients. Also, a greater number of effective medications to treat anxiety disorders are available today than ever before.

A secondary benefit in taking the first step towards seeking treatment is you learn that you are not alone. Over 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorder and the vast majority of them, with treatment, are able to live a full, enjoyable, and normal life.