Anxiety: normal or not?

By Gina Kraman

Anxiety isn’t always bad; it’s a good thing when it keeps us out of danger and propels us to take action, states the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):  “But if you experience anxiety that’s persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming, you may have an anxiety disorder.  If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations; it can be disabling.”

The ADAA explains that an anxiety disorder includes generalized anxiety, panic disorder and panic attacks, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, and specific phobias. 

“Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults.  An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders,” states the ADAA.  “Only about one-third of suffers receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable.

“Researchers are learning that anxiety disorders run in families, and that they have a biological basis, much like allergies or diabetes.  They may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.”

Everyday anxiety of worrying about paying bills or walking into a crowded room is normal.  However, unsubstantiated and constant worry about these issues to the extreme of emotional numbness and avoidance is not – and can be helped, according to experts.

The first step?  Seeking professional help. “Success of treatment varies.  Some may respond to treatment after a few weeks or months, while others may need more than one year,” says the ADAA.  “Treatment may be complicated if people have more than one anxiety disorder, or if they suffer from depression, substance abuse, or other co-existing conditions.

“Although treatment is individualized, several standard approaches have been proven effective, including therapy, medication, and alternative methods such as meditation, acupuncture, and yoga.

For more information, call Woodridge Clinic, (630) 910-1177, or visit  Woodridge Clinic has offices in Woodridge, Lemont, and Lombard.