Anxiety is a feeling of worry and usually occurs as a normal response to stress. In most cases, this feeling disappears as soon as the stressful event is over.

Sometimes, however, this worry occurs out of proportion to what’s going on, or is impossible to control. It can feel so overwhelming that it affects a person’s ability to work, study, interact with others, or follow a daily routine.

For 40 million American adults, it’s an everyday experience to suffer from anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias. They suffer from an inability to relax, and constantly worry that something bad is about to happen. As a result, they avoid any social interactions – even with close friends.

And while anxiety disorders are the most common of mental illnesses in the United States, men are less likely to report symptoms, and therefore fail to receive treatment for them.

What causes anxiety?

No one is certain about the exact causes of anxiety disorders. Most experts agree, however, that it’s probably a combination of factors, including:

  • Anxiety often runs in families.

  • Your environment. Where you live, whether or not you’re happy at work and in your personal relationships.

  • Your personality. If, for example, you see yourself as a victim or as powerless to influence your own life, you’re likely to see the world as a very dangerous place.

  • A trauma or significant stress.

  • A major physical problem or illness.

  • The build-up over time of many small negative life events.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders:

Different anxiety disorders can express themselves in different ways. Visit the symptoms page of this website or the resources page for more information.

Getting the Help You Need

Not feeling like yourself? One or more symptoms persist, even after several weeks? Are they interfering with your life in any way? If so, it’s important to make some changes immediately.

  • Review the symptoms for anxiety. Recognizing the problem is half the battle.

  • Physical and mental health are closely related, and small changes in your lifestyle can improve your overall well-being. Visit Tips To Stay Well for ideas.

  • You don’t have to do this on your own. Reach out to a family member, friend or peer, and visit the resources page on this website to identify local organizations and professionals who can help.

  • Talk to your health care provider. Anxiety symptoms can sometimes be caused by physical conditions such as heart problems, migraines, or epilepsy. Symptoms also can be caused by food (caffeine, for example), medications some decongestants, drugs for high blood pressure and ADD, weight-loss pills, etc.), or illegal drugs (cocaine and others). If your health-care provider is able to rule out physical conditions, he or she may call for more extensive screening to determine the type or severity of your anxiety.

  • Don’t wait to take action. With the right treatment, most men who experience mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety or stress can recover and feel like themselves again. It’s never too late to ask for help.