Anxiety is a natural response to stimuli in which we increase alertness and pay close attention to our surroundings. It is our central nervous system's first response to potentially dangerous situations. However, this response is heightened in some, causing them to feel anxious even in the absence of a threat.
Anxiety disorders are common, affecting about 18% of Americans, and causing them excessive concern over matters such as health, the wellbeing of loved ones, work, or finances. They come in a large variety of diagnoses including agoraphobia, panic disorder, social anxiety, general anxiety, separation anxiety and many more.
While many can function somewhat normally with an anxiety disorder, more severe cases can produce more problematic symptoms including irritability, trembling, headaches, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating. Additionally, sufferers may find themselves avoiding activities that trigger their anxiety entirely such as school work, household tasks, or work-related functions.