The term Anxiety Disorder refers to a group of mental health conditions which involve feelings of fear and anxiety.
Every now and then it might happen to anyone to get anxious or nervous when someone has to say a speech in front of a big audience or before a test or any other stressful situation. But in this case these feelings anxiety become extremely frequent and might lead to physical symptoms such as shakiness or racing heart.
Of course different anxiety disorders have different symptoms but they all include symptoms of anxiety. The most common anxiety disorders include phobic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
Phobias include any disorder where anxiety and/or fear is triggered by a certain object, situation, activity or stimulus. The most common phobias include fear of flying, fear of heights and fear of animals like spiders or snakes.
Usually, avoiding the object of fear only increases and strengthens the phobia. In cases of extreme phobia people can do incredible things to avoid the object of their fear. Phobias affect 5%-12% of the worldwide population.
People with phobias tend to anticipate terrible consequences when encountering the situation or the object of their fear.
Social Anxiety Disorder
It is defined by and overwhelming fear of humiliated in public or being seen negatively by someone. It is also known as social phobia.
It might be accompanied by blushing, difficulty speaking and sweating.
Just as Social Anxiety Disorder people with Agoraphobia fear public places but people with agoraphobia are also anxious about a difficult escape. People with social anxiety disorder fear scrutiny by others and this is a point that makes a clear distinction between the two disorders.
That’s because people with agoraphobia feel better and might be helped to appear in public if they are in the company of a trusted friend. But unlike people with agoraphobia, people with social anxiety disorder won’t feel comfortable in the company of a friend as they think might fall under scrutiny of their friend as well.
The term panic disorder describes a disorder that involves brief attacks of fear, apprehension and terror. Many times these attacks are accompanied by confusion, trembling, dizziness, shaking, nausea and difficulty breathing.
This type of attacks arises abruptly and takes less than 10 minutes to peak but could last for a few hours.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAD for short, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a chronic anxiety disorder defined by long-term fear or anxiety that is not focused on a situation or an object. Common symptoms include irritability, insomnia, restlessness, stomach upset, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep disturbance and concentration problems.
From all the anxiety disorders GAD is the most common among older adults.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
Also known as OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is defined by repetitive obsessions such as a recurring worry that you forgot to lock the door when you left or that you left the water running. Also uncontrollable compulsions such as repeatedly washing your hands might take over your life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The term defines an anxiety disorder that comes from the experience of a traumatic event such as rape, bullying, combat, natural disaster, child abuse and serious accident. This type of anxiety disorder is very common among soldiers who engaged in a long and continuous combat situation.
The symptoms usually include anxiety, hypervigilance, avoidant behavior, anger, flashbacks and depression.
Changing events or new situations might trigger situational anxiety which makes an individual very uncomfortable. Situational anxiety is very common and might lead to extreme anxiety or panic attacks.
Some people might experience situational anxiety when they enter the college or get married while others might experience it when they are at the bank or in a tight packed line.
The separation anxiety is an excessive feeling of anxiety caused by the separation from a place or a person. There are normal levels of anxiety caused by separation from a place an object or a person and they occur pretty often during the development of a child. It’s the excessive and overwhelming levels of anxiety that are considered a problem, a disorder.
The causes of anxiety disorders include drug or alcohol abuse, genetics and stress.
The available treatments include therapy, medication and lifestyle changes.
People should be aware not any level of anxiety is an anxiety disorder and diagnosis should be left for the specialists. In case there are signs or symptoms of anxiety disorder the specialist help of a psychiatrist or psychologist should be asked.