Anxiety disorder is a mental condition that manifests in the form of physical symptoms. That’s why people think they’re physically ill and they have got some disease. This takes them to doctors who recommend different kinds of medications. In order to treat an anxiety disorder properly, it needs to be diagnosed properly.
As the symptoms of anxiety can be physical, so it might be considered as a physical illness. On the contrary, the symptoms might look like anxiety, but it might not be an anxiety disorder, rather a physical illness. So it is very important to understand different types of anxiety disorders and then diagnose the anxiety disorder properly to handle and treat it well.
It is important to understand that many drugs can cause anxiety symptoms; some diseases might also cause anxiety; and sometimes nutritional deficiencies are also a cause of anxiety. Drug or alcohol abuse or addiction can also cause anxiety. All of these factors also need to be considered when diagnosing anxiety. We’ll now discuss different types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
The major characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder is excessive worry about normal everyday things. The worry about small things gets uncontrolled. The person with GAD worries so excessively that it starts interfering with his daily life. It causes symptoms like muscle tension, sweating, nausea, difficulty swallowing and stomach discomfort etc.
Generalized anxiety disorder makes you tired and disturbs your sleep. If you have GAD, you start worrying excessively about your health, work, family life, budget and everything. This worry does not end anywhere, even if you rationalize things quite well. It makes you irritable and tense.
Panic Disorder and Panic Attack
A panic attack is an intense fear and discomfort that appears all of a sudden and peaks in about 10 to 15 minutes. It makes you feel overwhelming danger. You want to escape from the situation as quickly as possible. You start feeling palpitation, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, and choking feeling.
You can also feel chest pain, nausea, abdominal discomfort, light-headedness, and fear of losing control. You might also feel like you’re dying or having a heart attack. Many people suffering from panic attack or panic disorder also suffer from depression. You might have the onset of panic feelings in different situations and places, or with certain people or group of people.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This disorder involves reoccurring thoughts that are so intrusive and inappropriate that they interfere with your daily life. Such obsessive thoughts and fears cause you anxiety from different situations like coming into contact with dirt, germs or unclean objects. You have doubts about locking the doors or turning off appliances etc. Extreme orderliness also comes under OCD.
These are repetitive behaviors which you’re obsessed to do again and again for no reason; for example, cleaning your things or hands again and again. Although, you know that your thoughts are obsessive and compulsive but you’re unable to stop them. OCD usually starts in childhood and grows gradually. A person with OCD excessively worries and thinks that something bad is about to happen.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Trauma is an exposure to a life threatening experience including accidents, natural disaster, war, death of a loved one, threat of death from someone, assault and other such experiences. The person having gone through a traumatic experience develops a stress disorder which is a form of anxiety disorder called PTSD.
Someone who experiences a PTSD avoids situations, people, talk, and anything related to that experience. The trauma can induce fear, feelings of helplessness and horror, numbness, and loss of interest in surroundings. Sleep is also disturbed with nightmares. Post traumatic stress disorder can interfere with day to day life.
Another type of anxiety disorder is different types of phobias. Phobias are fears of different situations and things. A fear from a particular thing or place up to a certain level is good to keep you safe, but when this fear gets out of hand then the situation gets worse and disturbs the quality of life. These phobias include social phobias (fear of social situations and gatherings), specific phobias (fears about particular things). The list of specific phobias is quite long and all of these phobias disturb day to day life.
This article discussed different types of anxiety disorders in detail. In our next articles, we’ll discuss how to treat and overcome such anxiety disorders to improve the quality of your life and live a happy and healthy life.