What are anxiety disorders: types, symptoms, treatments and more

Last modified date

Comments: 0

What are anxiety disorders?
We all know how it feels to be anxious. Have you felt butterflies in your stomach before a first date? Or nerves before giving a speech? Perhaps your palms get sweaty or your heart beats rapidly in dangerous or difficult situations. These sensations are normal. But what if you feel anxious most of the time? What if you don’t have a reason to feel this way? What if you find yourself avoiding daily routines or activities? What if you feel paralyzed by your own nervousness? Such is life for those who suffer from anxiety disorders. They are biologically based mental illnesses.

What are the different types of anxiety disorders?
panic disorder
People who have panic disorder experience panic attacks. Panic attacks are extreme instances of fear or discomfort. They start suddenly and reach a peak, usually within ten minutes. Panic attacks present physical symptoms such as:

heart palpitations
Difficulty breathing
choking sensation
Chest pain
Fear of losing control or dying
Shaking chills
Hot flushes
Panic attacks are often accompanied by a sense of imminent danger or a strong desire to escape. Attacks can come from specific triggers or they can come on spontaneously. The frequency of attacks varies from person to person.

To receive a diagnosis of panic disorder, you must have:

Panic attacks followed by at least one month of continued worry about having more attacks.
Worry about why the seizures occurred and what they mean (fear of having a serious physical illness or “going crazy” is common).
A significant change in behavior as a result of the attacks (many feel the need to avoid or flee from certain situations or places).
Women are twice as likely to develop panic disorder compared to men. The age at which it appears varies, but rates gradually increase through puberty and peak in adulthood. About one in three people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia.

Phobias are exaggerated, involuntary and irrational fears. Phobias are fear of certain situations or things. They are generally divided into three different types: specific phobias, social phobia, and agoraphobia.

Specific (or simple) phobia: This type is caused by a specific situation or object. Common phobias include flying, heights, needles, or snakes. Women are twice as likely to be affected compared to men. They usually appear for the first time during childhood. 2
Social phobia (social anxiety disorder): Social phobia is limited to social situations. It implies extreme fear of meeting new people. People with social phobia are afraid of feeling embarrassed, humiliated, or judged by others. It is equally common among men and women. They usually appear for the first time in mid-teens. And it is more common in people who are shy in childhood. To receive a diagnosis of a social or specific phobia, you must meet three criteria: exposure to the feared object or situation must induce anxiety, you must recognize that your fear is irrational, and your phobia must be disruptive to your lifestyle.
Agoraphobia: People with agoraphobia have an intense fear of being trapped. Or they fear they won’t be able to find help if they have a panic attack. Large crowds or being alone in an open space often trigger this phobia. People with agoraphobia often avoid these situations.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts, impulses, or images that invade the mind. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that we feel we must comply with.

Some common obsessions include:

fear of contamination
Fixing with lucky or unlucky numbers
Fear of danger to self or others
Need for order or accuracy
excessive doubt
Some of the most frequent compulsions in response to these obsessions are:

Hand washing ritual
Most people experience these thoughts and behaviors at times. OCD is diagnosed when these symptoms occur for more than one hour per day. The symptoms must interfere with life or cause a lot of anxiety. OCD is equally common in men and women. It can start in childhood, but appears more often in adolescence or early adulthood. 3

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is caused by a traumatic experience. This trauma is usually a violent or tragic event. This experience leads to feelings of intense fear, terror, or despair. Events that can cause PTSD can be sexual assault, war, natural disasters, abuse, or serious accidents. It is common to feel anxious or depressed for a while after a trauma. But those with PTSD continually relive the traumatic event. They may have nightmares, hallucinations, or flashbacks. They could avoid all things related to the event. They might show increased restlessness (eg, difficulty sleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating, excessive alertness, or nervousness).

People diagnosed with PTSD have symptoms for more than a month. They cannot function as they did before the event. PTSD usually appears within three months of the trauma. But sometimes it can show up months or even years later. PTSD can occur at any age.

Acute stress disorder is similar to PTSD. Acute stress disorder also appears after a stressful event. And have similar symptoms. There are two main differences. People with acute stress disorder show more dissociation. They feel disconnected; they move away from reality or may even have amnesia. And acute stress disorder is only diagnosed if the disturbance occurs within four weeks of the trauma. It must last at least two days and not more than four weeks.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People with GAD feel anxious about daily activities. Your anxiety is difficult to control. It causes problems in the social and work environment. Physical symptoms include:

Concentration problems
Muscle tension
trouble sleeping
A GAD diagnosis requires that you feel excessive anxiety on most days for six months or more. Most people with GAD say they have had anxiety all their lives. The disorder is usually first seen in childhood or adolescence. However, its appearance in adulthood is not unusual.

Other anxiety disorders
Sometimes a medical condition or substance use disorder causes the anxiety. Some people show certain signs of anxiety disorders without meeting all the criteria for the diagnosis.

Anxiety FAQ
How common are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults 18 years and older in the country.

Are anxiety disorders associated with other disorders?
Yes. It is very common to have more than one anxiety disorder. People with anxiety disorders often have depression, substance-related disorders, or eating disorders.

What are the causes of anxiety disorders?
Several factors appear to cause anxiety disorders. Research suggests that these disorders run in families. And they are the result of brain chemistry. Life experiences and personality also play a role.

What are the treatments for anxiety disorders?
There are effective treatments for anxiety disorders. Both medication and talk therapy can help relieve symptoms.

Medications: The most common medications used to treat anxiety disorders are antidepressants and benzodiazepines. There are a variety of medications available. So if one doesn’t work, another might. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about medications.
Talk therapy: Behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are effective ways to treat anxiety disorders. Behavior therapy involves gradual exposure to what triggers anxiety. CBT focuses on helping people react differently by changing their thought patterns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment