Understanding Anxiety

We all have our anxious moments — right before we give a speech, perform onstage, during a job interview, or waiting for test results from the doctor or at school.

But sometimes those moments can last longer. Maybe you avoid driving after a bad car crash. Or maybe you have panic attacks. Or maybe you can’t go to sleep because anxious thoughts are keeping you up at night. Maybe you’re even worried about your loved one whom you care for.

Anxiety is the most common mental illness, affecting up to 18 percent of Americans. Anxiety can stem from an anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or phobias. Or, it may be part of another mental illness, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

What’s important to know is that it’s OK to be afraid or anxious from time to time, but anxiety as a mental illness is something different.