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Different Types of Anxiety Disorders & How You Can Cope

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There are several different types of anxiety disorders, which includes Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Specific Phobias, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety, as well as Separation Anxiety Disorder.

What are Anxiety Disorders? Well anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to danger and help us prepare and pay attention. Anxiety Disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. They are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available and can help most people lead normal and productive lives.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Involves persistent and excessive worry that interferes with daily activities. This ongoing worry and tension may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as restlessness, feeling edgy or easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension or problems sleeping (insomnia). Oftentimes the worries focus on everyday things such as job responsibilities, family health or minor matters such as chores, car repairs, appointments as well as bills.

Panic Disorder

The core symptom is recurring panic attacks, an overwhelming combination of physical and psychological distress. During an attack several of these symptoms occur together.

  • Palpitations, pounding heart or rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feeling short of breath or feeling smothered
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint
  • Feeling of being choked
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Nausea or abdominal pains
  • Feeling detached
  • Fear or losing control
  • Fear of dying

Because symptoms are so severe, many people who experience a panic attack may believe they are having a heart attack or other life threatening illness and may go to the hospital ER. Panic attacks may be expected, such as a response to a feared object, or unexpected, apparently occurring for no reason. It is most commonly seen in young adults ages 22 and 23, But can happen earlier or later in life. Panic attacks may occur with other mental disorders such as depression and ptsd.

Specific Phobia

Is an excessive and or persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity that is generally not harmful. Patients know their fear is excessive, but they can’t overcome it. These fears cause such distress that some people go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear. For example it can be a fear of flying, spiders, going into large bodies of water, going to the hospital, pretty much anything can become a phobia.

Agoraphobia

Is the fear or being in situations where escape may be difficult or embarrassing, or help might not be available in the event of panic symptoms. The fear is out of proportion to the actual situation and lasts generally 6 months or more and causes problems functioning. A person with Agoraphobia experiences this fear in 2 or more of the following situations.

  • Using public transportation
  • Being in open spaces
  • Being in enclosed places
  • Standing in line or being in a crowd
  • Being outside the home alone

The individual actively avoids the situation, requires a companion or endures intense fear or anxiety. Untreated agoraphobia can become so serious that the person may not be unable to leave the house. A person can only be diagnosed with agoraphobia if the fear is intensely upsetting or if it significantly interferes with normal daily activities

Social anxiety Disorder (social phobia)

A person with social anxiety disorder has significant anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or looked down on in social settings. People with this disorder will try to avoid the situation or endure it with great anxiety. Common examples are extreme fear of public speaking, meeting new people, eating or drinking in public. The fear or anxiety causes problems with daily functioning and lasts at least 6 months.

Separation Anxiety

A person with separation anxiety disorder is excessively fearful or anxious about separation from those whom he or she is attached to. The feeling is beyond what is appropriate for the person’s age, persists (at least 4 weeks in children and 6 months in adults) and can cause problems functioning. A person with separation anxiety disorder may be persistently worried about losing the person closest to him or her, may be reluctant or refuse to go to sleep away from home or without that person, may experience nightmares about the separation. Physical symptoms of distress often develop in childhood but symptoms can carry throughout adulthood.

Risk Factors

The causes of anxiety disorders are currently unknown but likely involve a combination of factors including genetic, environmental psychological and developmental. Anxiety disorders can run in families, suggesting that a combination of genes and environmental stresses can produce the disorders.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The first step is to see your doctor to make sure there’s no physical problems causing the symptoms. If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, a mental health professional can work with you on the best treatment. Unfortunately, many people with anxiety disorders don’t seek help. They don’t realize that they have an illness that has effective treatments.

Although each anxiety disorder has its own unique characteristics, most respond well to two types of treatment.

  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy) – is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health provider.
  • Medications

These treatments can be given alone or in combination. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy, can help a person learn a different way of thinking, reacting and behaving to help feel less anxious. Medications will not cure anxiety disorders but can give significant relief from symptoms. The most commonly used medications are anti – anxiety medications (Generally prescribed only for a short period of time) and antidepressants. Beta blockers which are used for heart conditions, are sometimes used to control physical symptoms of anxiety.

Self-Help, Coping and Managing

There are a number of things people do to help cope with the symptoms of anxiety disorders and make treatment more effective. Stress management techniques and meditation can be helpful. Support groups (in person or online) can provide an opportunity to share experiences and coping strategies. Learning more about specifics of a disorder and helpful family and friends to understand better can also be helpful. Avoid caffeine, which can worsen symptoms and check with your doctor about any medications.


Rissa View All

I have survived alot of stuff but I am a warrior. I have bpd. I'm an admin for Sam's group. And I started my own small business.

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