Among people of all ages, anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health issues. But if you asked people about the different kinds of anxiety disorders, many wouldn’t be able to name more than a couple.
Anxiety isn’t easy to talk about and can be even harder to talk about with others. It’s a relatively common disorder that has been around for centuries but is still a mystery to most everyone. Among people of all ages, anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health issues. But if you asked people about the different kinds of anxiety disorders, many wouldn’t be able to name more than a couple. Here are 5 main types of anxiety disorders.
In a Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a person experiences excessive anxiety or worry for a minimum of six months about several different events or activities. The fears and worries can be unrealistic or out of proportion to the actual likelihood of the feared event occurring. The disorder is associated with three main symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, and irritability. The patient finds it hard to complete daily activities that most people would consider normal because they are constantly preoccupied with the fear something bad will happen.
SAD is often referred to as social phobia. It is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by fear in one or more social situations causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life. People with social anxiety disorder are afraid of being judged negatively by others. Physical symptoms often include excessive blushing, sweating, shaking, and palpitations. In severe cases, anxiety may present with a panic attack. The best thing is to seek help from a professional like Dr Anandhan Psychiatrist who will help in treating the disorder.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is when you have thoughts that come into your head and can’t stop thinking about them. When you have OCD, these thoughts are called obsessions. For example, you might be scared of dirt and germs. Your obsession is about getting sick from the dirt in your house, so you clean it all the time. If you think you have OCD, talk to a professional psychiatrist who will help manage your obsessions and compulsions through medication or therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT gives you skills for managing negative thoughts, so you don’t get overwhelmed by them anymore.
Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks are quite frequent. A person with panic disorder will experience recurrent, unexpected panic attacks. These panic attacks are often triggered by intense fear or discomfort when a person feels trapped or cannot escape from a particular situation. Panic attacks can be debilitating for those who experience them and may make it difficult for these individuals to carry out daily activities.
Separation anxiety makes you worried or nervous when away from home, school, or people you’re attached to. The feelings are related to worries about being unable to get back together with those who matter to you. Separation anxiety disorder is diagnosed in people who have these symptoms for at least 4 weeks, and they can’t be explained by another mental health condition, such as a mood disorder.
The earlier you seek help, the more effective your treatment will be. The first step is to talk to your Psychiatrist about your feelings and what you are experiencing. The doctor will diagnose based on the symptoms you have experienced over time and make treatment recommendations. Remember that diagnosing an anxiety disorder is not as simple as measuring physical attributes like height or weight. A professional will ask questions about your symptoms and life experiences and rule out any other illnesses causing the symptoms.
Eva Shelton, M.D.
Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital