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Atlanta Psychiatric Consultation Center | General Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry and Evaluation Team

Anxiety and Stress in Adults

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common chronic disorder characterized by non-specific persistent fear and worry. Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, phobias, and social anxiety disorder.

Panic disorder
Trembling, shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing can be telltale signs of a person who is suffering from a panic disorder. Panic attacks, defined by the APA as fear or discomfort that abruptly arises and peaks in less than ten minutes, can last for several hours. Although the specific cause is not always apparent, the attacks are often triggered by stress, fear, or even exercise. After a panic attack, a person can either worry over the attacks' potential implications, persistent fear of future attacks, or significant changes in behavior related to the attacks. Even sublime changes like a change in heart rate can lead a person to believe that something is terribly wrong or that they are about to suffer another attack.

Phobia is defined as fear and anxiety which are triggered by a specific stimulus or situation. Phobias may be caused by an object, an encounter, or any external stimulus. The sufferer will tend to avoid these stimuli at all costs. These avoidance behaviors can often have serious consequences; in severe cases, one can even be confined to one's home.

Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder (SAD; also known as social phobia) describes an intense fear and avoidance of negative public scrutiny, public embarrassment, humiliation, or social interaction. Social anxiety often manifests specific physical symptoms, including blushing, sweating, and difficulty speaking. As with all phobic disorders, those suffering from social anxiety will often attempt to avoid the source of their anxiety; in the case of social anxiety this is particularly problematic, and in severe cases can lead to complete social isolation.

What are the Treatment Options?
Treatments of these common anxiety disorders can occur with medication management, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. The type of treatment modality will be determined after your psychiatric assessment.