Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).

These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time. You may avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood.

Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. You can have more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs treatment.

Whatever form of anxiety you have, treatment can help.

Anxiety care at Mayo Clinic

Dec. 31, 2015
  1. Anxiety disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Sept. 24, 2015.
  2. Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Accessed Sept. 24, 2015.
  3. Cook, AJ. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 14, 2015.
  4. Anxiety disorders. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders/Overview. Accessed Oct. 1, 2015.
  5. Help with anxiety disorders. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders. Accessed Oct. 1, 2015.
  6. Reinhold JA, et al. Pharmacological treatment for generalized anxiety disorder in adults: An update. Expert Opinion in Pharmacotherapy. 2015;16:1669.
  7. Bandelow B, et al. Efficacy of treatments for anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis. International Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2015;30:183.
  8. Find support. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Find-Support. Accessed Oct. 1, 2015.
  9. Bazzan AJ, et al. Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2014;14:411.
  10. Natural medicines in the clinical management of anxiety. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 1, 2015.
  11. Sarris J, et al. Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, Part 2: A review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. CNS Drugs. 2013;27:301.
  12. Bystritsky A. Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety symptoms and disorders: Herbs and medications. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
  13. Bystritsky A. Pharmacotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
  14. Whiteside SP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 27, 2015.
  15. Sawchuk CN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 6, 2015.