6 Types Of Anxiety Disorders
Do you feel nervous while practicing your presentation speech, when you’re about to make an important phone call, or any call at all; even if it is towards a family member, or how about having a sense of fear when being around other people? Some of these things may be normal once in a while but having these feelings on a daily basis can be a sign we of an anxiety disorder. But what specific type of anxiety disorder may you be experiencing?
Here are 6 types of anxiety disorders from which you may be experiencing one or several symptoms.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor a professional in the mental health association group. This article is based purely from my personal experiences, perspective, and research.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder SAD (also known as social phobia) is a mental health condition. It’s a dreadful, constant distress of being watched and judged by those surrounding you. Social anxiety can affect your everyday tasks and it can also affect your physical health.
People with social anxiety feel symptoms of fear and angst in almost all social activities. These activities can include: dating, meeting new people, being interviewed for a job, answering the phone, or even having to talk to your next door neighbor. Managing to do everyday things in front of other people can be almost like a full task that needs to be done, but you’re too tired to do, or you’re just too drained to pursue. Things like eating in front of others, walking down the stairs when there’s other people, or walking down the school hallways, can also cause a lot of anxiety. The person suffering from social anxiety is terrified that they might be judged, humiliated, and rejected by the people around them.
The fear that someone with social anxiety has is so heavy and strong that they actually feel like they have no control whatsoever over it. It feels like they’re trapped in an unsolved mystery case that they don’t know what’ll happen next, or how to face the upcoming situations. This disorder has the tendency to make you worry about things that are yet to happen, and it even makes the person avoid certain situations in fear of all the “what if’s” that can be involved.
The simple thought of an upcoming social gathering can cause panic attacks and even severe stomachaches
“Social anxiety disorder is not uncommon; research suggests that about 7 percent of Americans are affected. Without treatment, social anxiety disorder can last for many years or a lifetime and prevent a person from reaching his or her full potential.” (source)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (also known as GAD) is the most common among other anxiety disorders. It can be characterized by the overwhelming feeling of being stressed and worried about too many things at once. Those who struggle with generalized anxiety disorder tend to anticipate situations that haven’t even happened or been planned but the anticipation of that event actually happening is extremely anxiety-inducing to potentially have control over it.
Concerns such as future plans, family, money, health, education, work, time, and other things like these are huge struggles for those who are dealing with this disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder can be diagnosed when a person finds it hard to manage their constant worrying on more days than not for a period of at least six months and that has three or more related symptoms. Not being able to control nor stop the worry cycle is a huge red flag for anyone who hasn’t been yet diagnosed.
Symptoms may include, but not limited to:
- Having an increased heart rate
- Feeling extremely tired all the time and/or weak
- Concentration problems
- Insomnia (something that also has to be diagnosed)
- Feeling irritable or on edge
- Having a sense of panic or fear of being in danger
Somewhere along the years I once heard someone say “Avoiding anxiety leads to reinforcing it. You can be anxious and still be productive and do whatever you desire”.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
This disorder is mostly common in children. The separation anxiety comes when the child is scared that their attachment figure will leave them, abandon them or forget about them. Most children outgrow their separation anxiety over the course of their first 3 years. This doesn’t mean that after the 3-year period that the child will automatically outgrow the disorder. In some cases, children who have been mistreated, abused, or neglected tend to carry separation anxiety during their whole childhood, teenage years and it can even stick as they become adults.
Separation anxiety disorder can be diagnosed when the symptoms are extremely crucial for the development of the child and may cause serious distress on a daily basis. Some of the symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
- Constant fear that something bad will happen
- Not wanting to be away from their home, which can affect their school activities
- Refusing to sleep without a parent in the room with them
- Constant nightmares about being separated from their attachment figure
- Excessive fear of losing a parent or a loved one
When separated from their parents, children will often get headaches along with stomachaches due to the amount of anxiety and stress that they’re carrying.
Separation anxiety can potentially have a connection with panic disorder and/or panic attacks.
These are consistent fears of a specific object or situation that may cause distress in someone’s life and their daily routines.
Some phobias include:
- Arachnophobia – Which is the fear of spiders
- Autophobia – It’s the fear of being alone
- Hemophobia – The fear of blood
- Claustrophobia – Which many of you may already know that it’s the fear of confined or crowded spaces.
- Acrophobia – One of my personal fears which is the fear of heights
These are only a couple just to name a few, but if you’d like to know more about these types of phobias you can head over this page right here. You’d be surprised with some of the things that people are actually terrified of.
Phobias are extremely anxiety-inducing in any situation, so please if you know someone who suffers from this, be patient with them and don’t think it’s funny to throw triggers at them just to see them get anxious and uncomfortable.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Another one of the most known disorders. Post traumatic stress disorder (also known as PTSD) has been categorized as an actual anxiety disorder due to its crucial effects it has on people.
PTSD develops throughout the events of having to go through a traumatic life-changing experience just as: car accident, death, abuse, sexual assault, among other life-changing situations.
People who are diagnosed with PTSD can experience nightmares, flashbacks, unwanted memories, even a song or a smell can paralyze you in your feet whenever you listen to it because you know the bad memories it holds.
According to (source) women are twice as likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder as men. This can be due to the misogynist world that we live in and the lack of proper education on young children. Why is that? Well, as children grow up, girls are always taught to have manners, not to be alone with men, don’t walk alone at night, don’t wear that, don’t say no, you can’t do this or that, while parents are not having a conversation with their sons regarding how to respect a woman, how to respect themselves and to understand what boundaries are. These boys grow up thinking that they’re the ones in power and that they have the right to have whatever they want. This is when domestic violence and sexual abuse come into place; due to these traumatic experiences PTSD can be developed.
Panic disorder is another type of anxiety disorder. Panic disorders consists of causing fear when there’s no real danger. It can feel as if the person is losing control of their own bodies and minds. Other symptoms can include but are not limited to:
- Chest pain
- Having chills
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast heartbeat
- Choking sensation
- Out-of-body feeling
- Fear of dying
Panic attacks can happen at any given time or place and they have no warning sign. Sometimes a panic disorder can develop when a person is under a huge amount of stress. They can last as little as a few minutes to long hours. As mentioned before, there is no time frame therefore they can occur only once in a while, or they can also occur more frequently.
The similarities among panic disorders and other health related diseases such as heart, intestine, lungs or nervous system altercations can sometimes be misinterpreted and it’ll just add more stress to the person having the panic attack due to the lack of information out there.These may add to the person’s fear and anxiety during and after a panic attack.
What To Do?
If you have ever experienced one or more of these symptoms mentioned above, regardless of which anxiety disorder it is, it’s really important to be aware of the signs and your surroundings. Take time to know yourself and understand your boundaries and what triggers you. You’re not alone in this battle, and even if you’re not experiencing anything like this, there’s a chance that someone you know is experiencing an anxiety disorder. As the saying goes “you never know anyone’s battles until you have to face them yourself”.
If you’re interested in having an in-depth conversation with a professional about your symptoms or anything in general, you can always find someone that has the capacity and knowledge that can be able to help you. During these difficult times it is extremely hard to find a good therapist and even worst having to make an appointment due to a lot of doctors not taking in face-to-face traditional therapy consultations. Because of that, you can always find an alternative online and if I might recommend you an option it can be Online-Therapy. You’ll have the opportunity of talking with a therapist that could potentially help you. You never know until you give it a try. Online-Therapy has been a great resource during these rough times and I’m sure they will help you as much as they’ve helped so many other people.
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