Anxiety, or a feeling of worry or apprehension, is not only a normal part of life, but also a natural and often helpful response to stressful situations. This is called adaptive anxiety, and it's indispensable for managing many of life's problems. While anxiety is necessary for survival, it's not always comfortable, so we might be inclined to avoid things that make us anxious.
However, avoiding situations, thoughts, and emotions that make us anxious can actually make anxiety more powerful over time. Life starts to revolve around avoidance rather than the experiences, people, and values that matter most.
When anxiety doesn't go away, gets worse over time, or starts to interfere with daily activities, a person may have an anxiety disorder. There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder, and
- Social anxiety disorder