Types of Anxiety
Like all mental illnesses, anxiety comes in many forms and affects people in different ways. Victims can have symptoms of one kind of anxiety disorder, two kinds or even five. In the end, all anxiety disorders greatly reduce the standard of living and prevent victims from living their lives to the fullest.
General Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive worry that occurs day after day. Although some stress in life is to be expected, people with this disorder experience anxiety more frequently and with a greater intensity than people without this disorder. Even if a victim is aware that their anxiety is unreasonable, they are unable to control it. Symptoms include an increased startle response, difficulty sleeping and headaches.
Social Anxiety Disorder manifests as a fear of interacting with other people. Victims are often convinced that friends and strangers dislike them or judge them in a negative light even when reassured otherwise. Social anxiety is distinct from shyness in that it significantly debilitates a person’s life. Symptoms include an intense fear of humiliation, avoidance of unfamiliar people and always expecting the worst in a social situation.
Panic Disorders are marked by regular, unprovoked episodes of intense fear. Physical symptoms of panic attacks are often extreme and may resemble a heart attack. People who struggle with panic attacks often experience a fear of impending doom, difficulty breathing and chest pain. The fear of a panic attack itself is often enough to trigger one. Some people have only a few panic attacks over the course of their lives, but others suffer from them much more frequently.
A phobia is a persistent, irrational fear. Common phobias include fear of spiders, blood, needles and clowns. Some people who experience phobias do not need medical attention, but others may require intervention, especially if the phobia has a significantly negative impact on their lives. Symptoms include uncontrollable panic when exposed to the source of the phobia, avoidance and an inability to function.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by intrusive thoughts that provoke anxiety (obsessions) as well as the rituals used to mitigate that anxiety (compulsions). Those with OCD are often aware that their fears are irrational, yet they cannot control them. Common obsessions include fear of contamination, fear of causing harm to others and the need for symmetry. Common compulsions include excessive hand washing, counting and constant double-checking.
Often when a person is afflicted by an anxiety disorder it is a good idea to seek help through treatment at a rehabilitation center. For those interested in finding a treatment program you can contact the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California at 855-972-9459 for more information.