Types of Anxiety Disorders
Types of Anxiety
Getting familiar with the different types of anxiety disorders is the first step in understanding what is anxiety, how this condition manifests and which are the most effective treatments available today for anxiety disorders.
While most people experience feelings of anxiety prior to very important events or during stressful periods in their lives, the five main types of anxiety disorders considered pathological in addition to specific phobias. These conditions involve more than being afraid of something or overreacting in isolated, threatening circumstances.
People dealing with these ailments experience constant feeling of fear and worries, even when nothing seems to put their physical or psychological integrity at risk. The symptoms appearing in such cases are so intense, distressing and overwhelming that they frequently interfere with the sufferer’s daily routines and life, making it impossible for patients to accomplish work tasks or to relate to people around them.
Given below are the main types of anxiety defined as serious mental illnesses, each of them sharing particular characteristics.
1. General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Manifesting through excessive and uncontrollable worry about events, situations and activities, GAD is one of the most common types of anxiety disorders affecting men and women alike, with an approximate prevalence of 3% to 5% amongst the adult population.
This ailment is quite easily recognized as it involves permanent negative thoughts, feelings and irrational worries triggered by the less significant details in the sufferer’s life, whether these refer to school, work problems or family issues. The experienced fear tends to be so strong that it induces symptoms, such as insomnia, muscle tension, aches, digestive problems and increased nervousness.
The sufferer is convinced that the worst will happen in all his life’s sectors so he tends to isolate himself from friends, colleagues and even family members.
2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD
Second on the list of anxiety disorders is OCD, different from all the other types of anxiety disorders through its particular manifestations. Affecting both children and adults, obsessive-compulsive disorder appears in people who tend to pay too much attention to certain details or situations and who end up obsessed by these thoughts, images or persistent behaviors.
Unable to cope with the disturbing and recurring thoughts and impulses, these patients rely on repetitive gestures called compulsion to make the negative feelings or the anxiety-inducing ideas go away.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD
Unlike the previously described types of anxiety, this ailment is linked with a traumatic event or a life-threatening situation in the patient’s life, such as physical abuse during childhood, an accident that caused the loss of someone dear or natural disasters, whether they affected the sufferer’s properties and goods or not.
PTSD victims have constant nightmares and flashbacks reminding them of the terrifying event and they’re affected by severe depression and anxiety.
4. Panic Anxiety Disorder
Also referred to as panic disorder, this ailment is included among the different forms of anxiety disorders because of their disturbing symptoms: spontaneously occurring and recurrent panic attacks associated with a sudden feeling of terror and the thought that something terrible will happen.
These ideas trigger physical manifestations such as shortness of breath, exaggerated sweating and increased blood pressure, due to which the patient thinks he’s going to suffer a heart attack and die. Crisis episodes seem to come out of nowhere and the causes are very hard to identify without professional help.
A particular form of panic disorder is agoraphobia, described as exaggerated fear induced by open spaces and public scenarios and leading to complete isolation and avoidance of public places.
People struggling with this anxiety disorder are extremely self-conscious, shy and convinced they’re going to fail in absolutely every public appearance and situation. Going to public events or having to meet new people induces accentuated feelings of nervousness and anxiety as well as physical discomfort.
6. Specific Phobias
Phobias are considered particular types of anxiety disorders as triggers are usually easier to identify and most patients are aware of their problem and of the exaggerated character of their reactions. People dealing with this ailment are overwhelmed by fear whenever the cause of their phobia approaches, whether that specific trigger is actually dangerous or not.
Plane and spiders are among the most common triggers of specific phobias, both of them inducing excessive feelings of anxiety, irrational fear and uncontrollable reactions. The typical symptoms occur whenever sufferers think about the triggers of their phobias or come in contact with them. In most cases, patients aren’t able to overcome this mental problem without professional help.
Each of these types of anxiety disorders requires a complex treatment approach, addressing not only the symptoms but also the causes of the exaggerated reactions of fear.
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