Anxiety is hardwired into all of our brains. It is part of the body's "fight or flight" response. This prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger. It is a normal response to situations of uncertainty, trouble or feeling unprepared. However, if common everyday events bring on severe and persistent anxiety or panic that interferes with life, you may have an anxiety disorder.
What's the Difference?
  Normal Anxiety   Anxiety Disorder

  • Occasional worry about circumstantial events, such as an exam or break-up, that may leave you upset

  • Embarrassment or self-consciousness in the face of uncomfortable social situations

  • Random case of "nerves" or jitters, dizziness and/or sweating over an important event like an exam or oral presentation

  • Realistic fear of a threatening object, place or situation

  • Wanting to be sure that you are healthy and living in a safe, hazard-free environment

  • Anxiety, sadness or difficulty sleeping immediately following a traumatic event

  • Constant, chronic and unsubstantiated worry that causes significant distress, disturbs your social life and interferes with classes and work

  • Avoidance of common social situations for fear of being judged, embarrassed or humiliated

  • Repeated, random panic attacks or persistent worry/anticipation of another panic attack and feelings of terror or impending doom

  • Irrational fear or avoidance of an object, place or situation that poses little or no threat of danger

  • Performing uncontrollable, repetitive actions, such as washing your hands repeatedly or checking things over and over

  • Ongoing and recurring nightmares, flashbacks or emotional numbing relating to a traumatic event in your life that occurred several months or years ago

If you can relate to any of these anxiety disorder descriptions, talk to someone who can help ASAP.