We all experience anxiety from time to time, but for many people, including children, anxiety can be excessive, persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. An irrational fear of everyday situations may be involved. This high level of anxiety is a definite warning sign that a person may have an anxiety disorder.
As with the term emotional disturbance, “anxiety disorder” is an umbrella term that actually refers to several distinct disabilities that share the core characteristic of irrational fear: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia), and specific phobias.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. They are also highly treatable. Unfortunately, only about 1/3 of those affected receive treatment.
Often referred to as OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder is actually considered an anxiety disorder (which was discussed earlier in this fact sheet). OCD is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors (handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning) are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
A large body of scientific evidence suggests that OCD results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Treatment for most people with OCD should include one or more of the following:
◾therapist trained in behavior therapy;
◾Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT);
◾medication (usually an antidepressant).
“Psychotic disorders” is another umbrella term used to refer to severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions. Two of the main symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false beliefs, such as thinking that someone is plotting against you. Hallucinations are false perceptions, such as hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not there. Schizophrenia is one type of psychotic disorder. There are others as well.
Treatment for psychotic disorders will differ from person to person, depending on the specific disorder involved. Most are treated with a combination of medications and psychotherapy (a type of counseling). http://www.ccbd.net/about/ebddefintion