Types of Anxiety Disorders
Everyone experiences anxiety. It’s a natural response to danger, part of the body’s fight or flight response, and meant to keep you safe and protected. Most times, anxiety is useful; it keeps you aware on busy roads and stops children from taking risky behaviors. However, sometimes anxiety becomes overwhelming. It can lead to irrational fears and interfere with your daily life.
When anxiety becomes this bad, it’s not just anxiety, but an anxiety disorder. At this point, it is no longer functional and can become debilitating.
Those suffering from anxiety disorders may share common symptoms. These symptoms include always feeling tense or worried, fearing ordinary situations, having panic attacks, feeling irritable or restless, and having trouble concentrating.
Severe anxiety can also cause physical symptoms, including racing heart, sweating, upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, labored breathing, muscle tension, headaches, chest pain, fatigue, and insomnia.
6 Main Types of Anxiety Disorders
Even with these commonalities, anxiety can take different forms. There are six major types of depression, all including specific symptoms and occurrences.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Also known as GAD, generalized anxiety disorder occurs when you’re frequently plagued by worries and fears. You feel like you’re anxious all the time, even when you don’t know why. People with GAD often display physical symptoms as well and may suffer from IBS, headaches, or high blood pressure.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly referred to as OCD, occurs when you experience unwanted thoughts and, or behaviors that seem impossible to control. These may include obsessions, such as how many germs are on the kitchen counter, or uncontrollable compulsions, such as needing to have seven boxes of cereal and seven cans of soup on the shelf.
If you have a panic disorder, you have repeated, unexpected panic attacks. During a panic attack, you experience an extreme amount of anxiety. You start sweating, can’t catch your breath and your heart races. You’re filled with fear, and it may last for 10 minutes or more. After you’ve had a panic attack, you may experience the fear of having another one.
Phobias are unrealistic fears of a particular thing, such as spiders or closed spaces. Some phobias relate to objects, activities, and situations. When phobias are severe, people may go to extreme lengths to avoid their fear.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, called PTSD, happens when you have severe panic attacks after going through a traumatic event. Common in soldiers and trauma victims, PTSD can feel like a constant panic attack. This disorder is often characterized by flashbacks and nightmares and is often debilitating.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder occurs when someone has an irrational fear of being judged negatively by others or humiliated in public. They avoid social gatherings and places and tend to isolate themselves from others.
No matter what type of anxiety disorder you have, it can feel overwhelming. There is hope, however. Anxiety disorders are treatable. Seeking professional help and learning how to handle and redirect your anxiety can help you move forward.
Although no two people experience depression the same way, all types of depression are treatable through a variety of means, including medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. If depression is making you miserable, seek help. You can get better.