Anxiety is a normal, healthy psychological response to stressors and threats that we all experience in our lives. It's what protects us from getting hurt either physically or psychologically. However, when the anxious or fear response becomes extreme or starts to interfere with our ability to participate fully in life, an individual may develop an anxiety disorder.
A characteristic feature of someone with an anxiety disorder is that the source of the anxiety triggers avoidance of some kind, or great fear and distress in the individual who must 'endure' the situation or experience, thereby reducing their quality of life. It is, therefore, not unusual for people who suffer with anxiety disorders to experience secondary low mood or after some time, a major depressive episode, or a more enduring depression.
Treatment of anxiety disorders is therefore important at the earliest opportunity and involves practical psychological strategies to manage and overcome the automatic anxious response. The links below provide summaries of the different types of anxiety disorders including symptoms and presentations that are commonly experienced.