What is Anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is a normal feeling that can provide a boost of adrenaline to perform better. However, when stress levels become consistently excessive, it may indicate an anxiety disorder. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include excessive fear, nervousness, worry, and apprehension. These disorders can affect behavior, emotions, and physical well-being. While mild anxiety may be unsettling, severe anxiety can significantly impact daily life. Anxiety disorders are prevalent, affecting approximately 40 million people in the United States. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of individuals with anxiety disorders receive treatment. This article aims to provide information on anxiety disorders and encourages individuals experiencing symptoms to seek proper evaluation.
What are the six types of anxiety disorders?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is a chronic disorder characterized by excessive and prolonged anxiety and unnecessary worries about various aspects of life. Individuals with GAD often struggle to identify the cause of their anxiety. They may experience feelings of impending doom or have difficulty calming themselves down. Excessive and unrealistic worry can interfere with daily activities and relationships.
Panic disorder involves sudden and intense episodes of terror and apprehension. These panic attacks can cause confusion, shakiness, nausea, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Panic attacks typically escalate rapidly and can last for hours. They may occur without a specific trigger, leading individuals to make significant behavioral changes to avoid future attacks.
Social Anxiety Disorder (or Social Phobia)
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an extreme fear of negative judgment or public embarrassment. It encompasses feelings such as stage fright, anxiety around rejection or humiliation, and a fear of intimacy. Individuals with social anxiety disorder may avoid social gatherings and human contact, making everyday life challenging.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event. Symptoms may include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts related to the event.
Selective mutism is a form of anxiety that affects children. Despite having excellent communication skills around familiar people, individuals with selective mutism cannot speak in specific places or contexts, such as school. It can be an extreme manifestation of social phobia.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety disorder involves high levels of anxiety after separation from a person or place that provides a sense of safety or security. Panic symptoms may also occur due to the separation from loved ones.
Specific phobias involve irrational fears that lead individuals to avoid specific objects or situations. Phobias are not necessarily related to a specific cause, and individuals may acknowledge their fear as illogical but still struggle to control their anxiety. Phobia triggers can range from situations, places, and animals to everyday objects.
Agoraphobia is the fear and avoidance of events, places, or situations that individuals perceive as difficult to escape. It is not simply a phobia of open spaces or going outdoors. Individuals with agoraphobia may fear leaving their home or comfort zone, using elevators, or using public transport.
How to know if you have anxiety?
Anxiety is often characterized by excessive fear or worry. Medical conditions associated with anxiety can manifest as difficulty breathing, restlessness, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating. If you experience symptoms such as panic, fear, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or obsessive avoidance of public gatherings or feared objects, you may have an anxiety disorder.
How do you relieve stress and anxiety?
Exercises of Breathing
Deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety. Find a quiet place to sit or lie down and take slow, deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Deep breathing can help calm your mind and promote relaxation.
Mindfulness and Mantra Meditation
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment and being aware of your thoughts, body, and surroundings. Mantra meditation, on the other hand, involves focusing on a specific object, phrase, or mantra. Both practices can help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calmness.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups. Start by finding a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Begin with either your head and face muscles or your