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Learn about mood, personality, anxiety, psychiatric, and psychotic disorders from expert Ankur Saraiya, MD.
Anxiety disorders is a grouping of disorders of psychiatric disorders that are generally broken into three basic divisions. You have mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and then you have anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders have the common denominator of symptoms of anxiety and the various disorders are differentiated usually in what the triggers are, and what the timing is of anxiety symptoms. But basically the symptoms of anxiety disorders are thought to be a short circuiting of the natural human reactions to situations that are threatening. And therefore, there's manifestations, and in this case for disorders, symptoms, that are both psychological in nature and physical in nature. So there are some anxiety symptoms that are related to thoughts and worries and concerns, and there are other anxiety symptoms that are related to physical responses to these concerns and anxieties. And those physical manifestations can be clammy hands, an increase in heart rate, an increase in breathing, excessive sweating, things like that. Things associated with situations where somebody is under threat. It's important to remember that anxiety disorders are an extreme of experiences and symptoms that can at times be understandable and natural reactions. And in some cases it's important to have those reactions to prepare us for threats. These symptoms fall over into being disorders when they're excessive. When either the threat is absent or very minor, or the response is so excessive that it gets in the way of us responding effectively. So anxiety disorders are a group of disorders that manifest with excessive anxiety, and the different disorders have different manifestations in terms of timing and what the triggers are. And we do have effective treatments for anxiety disorders, so it's very important to get a thorough evaluation to find out what treatments might be helpful.