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Anxiety Disorders

AnxietyAnxiety is an emotional state in which people feel uneasy, apprehensive or fearful. Experiencing mild anxiety from time to time is a normal occurrence. The function of anxiety is to increase alertness and focus to prepare for a challenging event. Experiencing abnormally high amounts of anxiety can be a result of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness suffered by Americans.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Individuals with anxiety disorders experience feelings of anxiety most of the time. These pervasive and uncontrollable feelings ultimately interfere with the normal level of functioning. In addition to excessive and persistent worries, the individual may experience:

  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Rumination
  • Feeling on the edge

Over half of individuals suffering from anxiety disorders are women. Effective treatment typically consists of individual therapy and medications to alleviate symptoms. Symptoms rarely remit without treatment.

Panic Disorder

People who suffer from panic attacks experience a sudden episode of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by a variety of physical symptoms. Such symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating and "hot flashes"
  • Trembling
  • Chest pain
  • Choking sensations
  • Numbness or tingling

Fears of losing control, going "crazy" or dying are also common. Panic attacks typically last one to five minutes but can last longer. The triggers to the panic attack are often unknown. Treatment is available and typically consists of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. If left untreated, an individual may restrict normal activities and avoid situations or environments to prevent further attacks.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder is a group of emotional, physical and psychological symptoms that result from exposure to severe physical or emotional trauma. The traumatic event can be perceived as life-threatening. Feelings of shock, fear, terror and helplessness occur. Later, the event is re-experienced through memories, flashbacks, nightmares or reminders found in daily life. An individual will try to avoid anything that would trigger such memories. Additional symptoms include sleep disturbance, irritability, loss of concentration, jumpiness and hypervigilance. 

Treatment for post traumatic stress disorder typically consists of medication and individual therapy but may include group therapy or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR).

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a debilitating disorder that can affect all areas of an individuals' life including their ability to work, go to school and have social relationships. An individual with obsessive-compulsive disorder experiences intrusive and unwanted thoughts or images (obsessions). To rid these anxiety provoking thoughts they repeatedly perform behaviors or mental acts (compulsions). These compulsive rituals may reduce the distress and neutralize the obsession, but often consume much time.

  • Common obsessions include perfectionism, worries of contamination, violation of social norms or harming others
  • Common compulsions include excessive cleaning, demands for reassurance, counting or checking

Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder is often comprised of counseling and medications.

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

There is no specific reason that these disorders occur. Research indicates that there are biological and psychological components to every anxiety disorder and that the best form of treatment is psychotherapy. Medications are often used in combination with therapeutic techniques.

Outpatient Mental Health Programs

Our specialists at our outpatient care programs collaborate to understand your needs and provide treatments to restore your well-being.

More Information

On the Web:

Support Groups

The HOPE Portal, powered by 211 Northeast Michigan, is a web-based resource connecting people to the help they need in a just a few clicks. Visit the HOPE Portal or call 211.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

If you or your loved one is in a crisis, dial 988 or chat with Lifeline at

Referral Contact and Insurance Questions

MyMichigan Medical Center Alma
Inpatient Coordinator/Insurance Specialist
(989) 466-3304

Nurse Manager
(989) 466-7266
After Hours: (989) 466-7170 or (989) 466-7171

Partial Hospitalization Program
(989) 466-3253

MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena
Inpatient Care
(989) 356-7258

Outpatient Care
(989) 356-7242

MyMichigan Medical Center Midland
24-Hour Admission Line
(989) 839-3690

Partial Hospitalization Program
(989) 839-3385

Nursing Director
(989) 839-3775