What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Stress Worry Woman with Text on White

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States. Anxiety disorders include a variety of conditions where excessive anxiety or fear cause significant distress or impairment in functioning at social, work, family, school or other domains of life. Anxiety disorders include: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Agoraphobia (fear of leaving the home), Phobias, Separation Anxiety, and Selective Mutism.  Some research suggests that here in Portland, Oregon people experience Anxiety Disorders and other mental health issues at the highest rates in the nation.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 1/3rd of the population (32%) will experience an anxiety disorder within their lifetime.  19 percent of U.S. adults will experience an anxiety in any given year. A larger percentage of young adults (ages 18-44) 22% will experience an anxiety disorder in any given year. A smaller percentage of the population, 8%, will experience an anxiety disorder which severely impair quality of life. Female identified persons tend to experience anxiety disorders at a higher rate than male-identified folk.

What is the Difference Between Regular Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a normal part of life. Anxiety is an activating emotion which helps us deal with a challenge, or fear in our future. Having a healthy concern about a situation can help you anticipate possible problems and discover better ways of handling them in advance.  However, people with anxiety disorders experience frequent worry or fear that interferes with everyday life, relationships, work, or it causes an inordinate amount of distress compared to normative anxiety.

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

There is no one specific reason or cause of anxiety disorders, usually it involves a combination of things; chemical changes in your brain, traumatic events, environmental stress, coping skills which no longer work, or even your genes. These disorders can run in families, research estimates that about 1/3rd of the risk of developing an anxiety disorder is genetic. This is why it is important to identify a disorder in order to help understand behavior family dynamics and help the next generation. Given the fact that nearly 1/3rd of the population will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, this also indicates that an anxiety disorder may be a normal human reaction to unhealthy or overwhelming circumstances.

What Can Therapy Do for Anxiety Disorder?

Generally speaking, when your world becomes limited due to fear or anxiety it is time to seek treatment. Anxiety can impact your relationships, health, sleep, or work. It can even impact the ability to learn, pursue new things, or feel comfortable in your own skin. Therapy can help in learning tools to promote relaxation, reduce emotional vulnerability, increase resiliency, as well as changing unhelpful thinking, emotional, and behavioral patterns to more helpful ones that empower you to control anxiety and lead the life you want to live.

Do I Need Insurance to See a Therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Anxiety Disorder,