Common Anxiety Disorders

Generalized anxiety disorders (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder is a syndrome of ongoing anxiety and worry about many events or feelings that the patient generally recognizes as extreme and inappropriate (DSM-IV-TR). Individuals manifest both physical and psychological symptoms leading to significant distress or impairment.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

People suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder tend to have bothersome and intrusive thoughts that generate anxiety (obsession) and perform repetitive actions (compulsion). Obsessions include unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that cause great anxiety. Compulsions include repetitive behaviors or mental acts that those affected feel driven to perform.

Panic disorder

People suffering from panic disorders often have panic attacks, defined as discrete periods of sudden symptom onset usually peaking in 10 minutes and can occur with most anxiety disorders.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder avoid stimuli associated with the trauma and feel an extreme amount of fear and anxiety after presenting stimuli. Stress is a condition which affects physiological and psychological homeostasis. Evidence indicates that chronic repeated stress precipitates neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. Previous work in an animal model of stress revealed that chronic stress impairs learning in the T-maze and radial arm maze tasks in addition to inducing anxiety-like behavior. Stress-induced behavioral impairments are associated with structural, biochemical, molecular and electrophysiological alterations in the hippocampus and amygdala regions. Recent studies have clearly demonstrated the abnormal synaptic plasticity is responsible for cognitive deficits including enhanced anxiety in fragile X mental retardation and autism. Induction of progressive plasticity is known to be responsible for amelioration of stress-induced cognitive deficits and depression-like behavior by enriched environment and brain stimulation rewarding experience.

Anxiety and other psychiatric conditions are one of the most frequent conditions seen by clinicians and often require long-term treatment with medications. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and benzodiazepines are important class of drugs used to treat generalized anxiety disorders and depression. With the increasing cost of anti-anxiety medications and their increased side effects like suicidal ideation, decreased alertness, sexual dysfunction and dependency, drugs of natural origin are promising alternatives to treat neuropsychiatric disorders.


Anxiety, fear and worry are all completely natural human feelings. If these feelings occur and endure for an extended period, it affects both physical and mental health. This leads to clinical anxiety disorders. There are many types of treatment available to treat anxiety disorders. This article outlines more common herbal remedies to treat anxiety disorders. Anxiety is an aversive emotional state, in which the feeling of fear is disproportionate to the threat. Anxiety is implicated in a number of psychiatric disorders, such as depression, panic attacks, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common class of neuropsychiatric disorders in USA and many other countries. The life time prevalence of panic attacks (a form of anxiety disorder) is around 7-9% in most countries and 1% alone in India with the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder is very high i.e. 8.5% in the general population. Anxiety disorders affect 16.6% of population worldwide and numerous efforts have been made to understand the pathophysiology of the disease and treatments. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), anxiety is characterized by a feeling of persistent worry that hinders an individual’s ability to relax. Anxiety disorders are described and classified in DSM and several anxiety disorders share common clinical symptoms such as widespread anxiety, physiological anxiety symptoms, and behavioral disturbances.