Anxiety is a normal response to stress or stimuli that our minds or bodies perceive as danger, helping to alert us so we can prepare and pay attention. Anxiety may involve worry that people experience when concerned about things such as health, family problems, or money, and it can be a benefit in some situations.
Anxiety disorder, on the other hand, differs from normal feelings of nervousness, involving excessive feelings of anxiety or fear. The symptoms of anxiety disorder can interfere with a person’s life. Learning about anxiety disorders and the types of anxiety disorders might help you or your loved one to work through any associated struggles.
An anxiety disorder is a type of mental health disorder. Many people who have anxiety disorder respond to situations and things with a sense of dread and fear. Anxiety disorder is also associated with physical signs, including sweating and pounding heart or heart palpitations. Anxiety disorder goes beyond the normal feelings of nervousness that people feel from time to time. Instead, it can interfere with a person’s ability to function or to control their reactions to situations. Many people with anxiety disorder often overreact when something triggers their emotions.
Anxiety disorders are different from standard feelings of nervousness or worry. Many people have felt overwhelmed with life, whether it be related to personal issues, work, or relational conflict. Anxiety is a normal emotion. It can affect a person both physically and emotionally. But anxiety disorders involve excessive fear that is sometimes even irrational. A person who has anxiety disorder experiences feelings of anxiety that do not just go away over time, and their feelings may get worse as time goes on.
Different types of anxiety often require a different therapy focus and sometimes different treatments. The different types of anxiety disorder are as follows.
GAD is the most common type of anxiety disorder, characterized by excessive anxiety or worry about specific events, situations or objects that are disproportionate to the actual impact or danger they have on an individual. Symptoms of GAD may be psychological, physical or a combination of the two.
Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is diagnosed when a person experiences feelings of extreme anxiety or fear in social or performance situations. This extreme fear can interfere with one’s ability to function in their daily life, often leading to avoidance of situations that may lead to anxiety or obsession over an upcoming event or situation for weeks before it comes to pass.
A person who experiences phobia or specific phobia disorder typically experiences strong, irrational fears that may be real or imagined that are disproportionate to the actual level of danger of the object, event or situation.
Specific phobias can be split into five different categories, including:
A person who experiences phobia disorder might understand that their fears are irrational despite the fact that facing the feared situation, event or object brings on anxiety.
Panic attacks are the onset of intense, unexpected fear that can last several minutes or longer and may have no specific trigger. They are often associated with intense physical symptoms, including:
A panic attack usually leaves a person feeling like they have lost control or experiencing a sense of impending doom.
A person with panic disorder may experience symptoms as a symptom of another anxiety disorder or from anxiety overall. People who have panic disorder may spend a lot of their time worrying about when their next panic attack may strike. Those who battle panic attacks may begin to avoid situations in which they have had panic attacks before, leading to agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia is diagnosed when a person experiences feelings of intense fear while in a situation they cannot escape, such as riding in a car, using public transportation, sitting in the middle of a theater, standing in long lines, in big crowds, or even being away from home. Individuals with agoraphobia may avoid or fear these situations because they are fearful of being trapped or are afraid they might have a panic attack.
Separation anxiety is when an individual experiences intense anxiety or fear when removed or separated from a person to whom they feel attached. This is most common among children but can happen with adults too. When separation anxiety takes place, the affected person feels unsafe or in some type of danger.
Among the different types of anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were both once considered to be types of anxiety disorders in the DSM, but they are no longer considered to fall into this category.
Understanding the different types of anxiety disorder can help you or your loved one to make a more informed decision on treatment programs. At Prevail Recovery, we know there is no one-size-fits-all treatment program for those battling anxiety disorder. We are prepared to meet with you and create a treatment program tailored to suit your unique needs so you can get on the path to wellness as soon as possible. Reach out to us today for a confidential consultation and to learn more about South Florida treatment programs.
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