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About Anxiety

Find out about anxiety, how it can affect your life and how to get help.

The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) offers counseling if you believe you suffer from an anxiety disorder, or if the effects of excessive anxiety prevent you from fully experiencing life.

To make an appointment, submit an online appointment request form.

When anxiety becomes a problem

Emotional stress can trigger these anxiety responses, and many others:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Feeling tense and vigilant
  • Experiencing episodes of panic or extreme fear
  • Having troubling thoughts and impulses
  • Feeling compelled to repeat certain actions
  • Feeling nervous, awkward and disoriented around other people

Stress and anxiety can help when they rouse us to act in a situation of danger or threat. Unfortunately, some people can’t turn off these stress responses, even when they’re no longer useful.

When anxiety-related problems last longer than 6 months and affect every facet of your life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety can affect you physically

Although we may think of anxiety as a mental condition, it also usually involves mild to severe physical suffering.

The natural neuro-physiological response to anxiety, commonly called "fight or flight," makes your body enter a heightened state of physical and emotional awareness. Prolonged periods of this elevated state can cause:

  • Tremors and twitches
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

Some studies indicate that excessive anxiety may inhibit blood clotting mechanisms and the respiratory and immune systems.

Facts about anxiety disorders

  • The National Institute of Mental Health states that over 40 million Americans, or 18.1 percent of people 18 and older, will suffer from an anxiety disorder this year.
  • Anxiety disorders represent the largest percentage of mental health problems in the United States.
  • Anxiety disorders include:
    • Generalized anxiety disorder
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Panic disorder
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Social anxiety disorder
    • Specific phobias
  • Irrational fear and dread are characteristics of all anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and substance abuse can coexist.
  • People can suffer from more than one anxiety disorder at a time.