In life, both adults and children experience anxiety from time to time. For most people, feelings of anxiety are brief, only lasting a short time. Some moments of anxiety are briefer than others, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
But for some people, these feelings of anxiety are more than just passing worries or a stressful day at work. Your anxiety may not leave you for many weeks, months, or even years. It can exacerbate over time, sometimes becoming so severe that it interferes with your daily chores. You have an anxiety disorder if this happens, and later you’ll find out about the types of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders are serious mental illnesses that cause so much worry or fear that doesn’t leave you and may even get nastier over time. We all feel anxious at moments, but with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety inclines to be fairly constant and has a very adverse and intrusive impact on a person’s quality of life.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several types of anxiety disorders, these include:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People with GAD occasionally experience anxiety and worry about different activities or events, even the ordinary ones or routine. The worry is tremendous than it changes the reality of the situation. The worry results in physical symptoms in the body, such as headaches, stomach upset, or trouble sleeping.
Panic disorder, one of the types of anxiety disorders, results in sudden and repeated sessions of severe anxiety, fear, or terror that peak in a matter of minutes. This is called as a panic attack. People who are experiencing a panic attack may experience:
- Breath shortage
- Feelings of looming danger
- Pain in chest
- Quick or irregular heartbeat that feels like trembling or pounding (palpitations)
Panic attacks may provoke one to worry about them happening again or try to prevent situations in which they’ve previously occurred.
People with agoraphobia tend to have a fear of distinct places or situations that make them feel imprisoned, powerless, or humiliated. These feelings may very well lead to panic attacks. People who have agoraphobia may try to avoid these places and situations to prevent panic attacks.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is the persistent experience of unwanted or intrusive thoughts and worries that cause anxiety. A person may think of their thoughts as trivial, but they will try to alleviate their anxiety by conducting certain rituals or behaviors. This may include hand washing, counting, or checking on things such as whether or not they’ve locked their house.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD arises after a person undergoes a traumatic event such as:
- Natural disaster
Symptoms are difficulty relaxing, nightmares, or flashbacks of the traumatic incident or situation. People with PTSD may also avoid things related to the trauma.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
This is a childhood condition captioned by anxiety when a child is separated from their parents or guardians. Separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood development. Most children outgrow it around 18 months. Nonetheless, some children experience versions of this disorder that disrupt their daily activities.
This is an inability of a child to speak in specific situations or places. For example, a child may refuse to talk at school, even when they can speak in other situations or places, such as at home. Selective mutism can impede everyday life and activities, such as school, work, and a social life.
This is a fear of a specific object, event, or situation that causes severe anxiety when you’re exposed to that thing. It’s accompanied by a strong desire to avoid it. Phobias, such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders) or claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), may cause you to suffer from panic attacks when exposed to the thing you fear.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Keeping the types of anxiety disorders in mind, and the primary symptom of undue and irrational fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
- Looking for signs of danger
- Foreseeing the worst
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling tense and jumpy
But anxiety is not just a feeling. As a product of the body’s fight-or-flight response, anxiety also involves a wide range of physical symptoms, including:
- Pounding heart
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle tension or twitches
- Shaking or trembling
- Stomach upset
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
Because of these physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often misunderstand their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit and talk with many doctors and make several trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is finally recognized.
Causes of Anxiety Disorder
Some causes of anxiety disorders are:
- Genetics. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
- Drug withdrawal or misuse. Certain drugs may be used to conceal or lessen certain anxiety symptoms. Anxiety disorder often accompanied with alcohol and substance use.
- Medical conditions. Some heart, lung, and thyroid conditions can result in symptoms similar to anxiety disorders or make anxiety symptoms guiltier. It’s crucial to get a full physical exam to rule out other medical conditions when visiting your doctor about anxiety.
- Brain chemistry. Some research suggests anxiety disorders may be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that control fear and emotions.
- Environmental stress. This refers to stressful events you have seen or lived through. Life events often linked to anxiety disorders include childhood abuse and neglect, a death of a loved one, or being attacked or seeing violence.
There are no lab tests that can be done in order to diagnose an anxiety disorder, though your doctor may conduct some tests to rule out physical problems. Your doctor may suggest you a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or a counselor, who will use particular diagnostic tools and questions to help determine what sort of disorder you may have.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders react very well to therapy—and often in a relatively short amount of time. Certain treatment approach relies on the type of anxiety disorder and its harshness. But in general, most anxiety disorders are treated with therapy, medication, or some mixture of the two. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are types of behavioral therapy, meaning they focus on behavior rather than on underlying psychological tensions or issues from the past. They can help with issues such as panic attacks, generalized anxiety, and phobias.
Cognitive-behavior therapy helps you notice and question the negative thinking patterns and absurd beliefs that fuel your anxiety.
Exposure therapy enables you to meet face to face your fears and anxieties in a prudent, controlled environment. Through gradual exposure to the feared object or situation, either in your imagination or in reality, you gain a greater sense of control. As you face your fear without being harmed, your anxiety will lessen.
Read more -> How to Fight Anxiety