Anxiety is a common issue for many people of any age; anxiety disorders are actually the most common type of mental health condition in the country, affecting about 20 percent of adults. Not all anxiety is the same. You might feel a little nervous before a presentation, but that is much different from the dread you feel watching something bad unfold on the news. Anxiety has different causes, and there are a few types of anxiety disorders than can affect each person differently. Here, we will look at the types of anxiety disorders there are.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is a chronic, exaggerated worry that does not have a specific source. People who have this type of anxiety disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the “what ifs” for future events. These what if scenarios might be about their relationships, health, work, social interactions, and other everyday events. This chronic worrying can interfere with someone’s daily life, and if it lasts more than six months, they might have a generalized anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorders are about twice as common in women than they are in men.
Symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Always thinking of the worst outcome of every situation.
- Trouble coping with uncertainty.
- Feeling on edge.
- Inability to stop worrying.
- Trouble concentrating.
Panic anxiety disorders have a sudden and intense feeling of fear, causing panic attacks. Panic attacks are part of our body’s fight or flight instincts, and they can be debilitating. Panic attack symptoms include:
- Heart racing
- Chest pain
- Feeling out of control.
- Sense of impending doom
- Feeling like they are dying
People who have an anxiety panic disorder often worry that they will have a panic attack in certain situations, so they might choose to avoid situations, and places that they think will trigger a panic attack.
Treatments for a panic disorder include medications and therapy. In addition to taking medication to help get panic attacks under control, you can try deep breathing or using an app for anxiety.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety, or social phobia, is a pretty common type of anxiety. Those who suffer from this type of anxiety are anxious and filled with dread at the thought of having to make small talk with strangers or attend a party where they only know one person. Essentially, they have a fear of social situations.
Some people can be triggered by having to be in unfamiliar social situations like meeting new people or attending an event. Others may have this anxiety about high-pressure situations, like when they have to speak in public. Those with the most severe social anxiety might be triggered by any type of social situation, like answering the phone, eating in a restaurant, sitting next to someone they do not know on the bus or other situations. Those who have it might begin to avoid social situations as much as possible, which can lead to isolation and loneliness and make their anxiety worse.
Some phobias can give a person anxiety. These types of anxiety are often triggered by things like spiders, blood, heights, snakes, needles, and flying. This is another part of our fight or flight response. When a phobia is severe enough, the thought of encountering it can cause severe anxiety, and they might chronically worry about it. They might have a panic attack when they encounter the source of their phobias.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is unwanted thoughts, obsessions, or fears that can lead someone to have repetitive compulsions or behaviors. These are usually centered around a theme, like being afraid of germs, needing things to be symmetrical, or fear of a break in. OCD can get out of control and put you in a vicious cycle that can become debilitating.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
When someone experiences a significant traumatic event, they can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can give them anxiety related to it. Some of the things that can cause someone to develop PTSD are:
- Getting in an accident
- A weather event like a hurricane or tornado
- Near-death experience
- Assault or threat to life
- Domestic Violence
- The sudden death of a loved one
- Terrorist attacks
- Witnessing an attack
Someone who suffers from PTSD may have flashbacks, jumpiness, emotional detachment, avoidance, intrusive memories, and other symptoms. PTSD is different than other types of anxiety, but it can have similar symptoms. Treatments for PTSD include therapy and medications.