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A. Understanding Anxiety Disorders

Narrator: This is Science Today. Anxiety disorders affect approximately twenty million Americans. Lynn Martin, a clinical research specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, says it's natural to have some anxiety and fear ....

Martin: It's when it gets to be excessive, to cause a person significant distress in their life or to lead to impairment in functioning in any part of one's life - school work, home, relationships, that we begin to think of it as an anxiety disorder.

Narrator: Anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, traumatic stress and panic disorders and even excessive worry, known as generalized anxiety disorder.

Martin: And we're currently doing a research study on generalized anxiety and the phone is ringing off the hook with people who have high anxiety and excessive worry and it's usually worry about two or more things in one's life that one realizes one doesn't need to be worrying about.

Narrator: Public awareness of anxiety disorders is crucial since a lack of understanding prevent less than half of those affected from seeking treatment. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.