Anxiety is real and can be debilitating when left untreated. Anxiety disorders are characterized by a variety of different but related symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is excessive and intrusive worrying that disrupts your daily functioning. Additional signs may include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, agitation, restlessness, irritability, and trouble sleeping.
You should know that there are five major types of anxiety disorders that you or someone you know may be dealing with. You may have heard about these types, might be dealing with them yourself, or know someone who has anxiety and is curious to learn more about it. Several factors may increase your risk of having anxiety including stress buildup, trauma, your personality, and drugs and alcohol, to name a few.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorders, or GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry, and tension. It may hold true even when there is little or nothing to provoke it. To be diagnosed, the anxiety must last for at least 6 months and disrupt your normal routine and activities. Some of the symptoms that you may experience are as follows:
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Having difficulty concentrating (mind going blank)
- Having sleep problems
- Muscle tension
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). You may notice repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, number counting, or cleaning to help control and reduce thoughts. The rituals are usually done to get a little bit of temporary relief. It’s a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder. With OCD, you may have symptoms of obsessions (i.e. fear of germs or contamination), compulsions (i.e. excessive cleaning and/or handwashing), or both.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder, or Social Phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overpowering anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in daily social situations. It may be you feel this way whenever you’re around other people, or it may only be when you’re speaking in public or are eating in front of others. It may cause you to want to avoid social situations at all costs.
Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear. It’s also accompanied by physical symptoms that may comprise chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. The attacks come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. They may be triggered or come on unexpectedly. A panic attack may include sweating, shaking or trembling, and feelings of being out of control.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or situation in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. Some triggering or traumatic events that may cause an onset of it include violent personal assaults, accidents, natural or human-caused disasters, or military combat. With PTSD, you may feel stressed or frightened, even when you’re not in any danger. Symptoms that recur are having flashbacks, frightening thoughts, and bad dreams.