While everyone may experience stress or worry from time to time, a person suffering from an anxiety disorder will feel consistent and disproportionate fear in certain circumstances. Different types of anxiety disorders can affect people differently, but all anxiety disorders are considered treatable conditions.
An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that causes a person to feel stress or fear when faced with specific situations. Many different types of anxiety disorders can affect people differently. Someone can suffer from more than one anxiety disorder at a time.
While the causes of the anxiety may vary depending on the type of disorder, there are common symptoms among all anxiety disorders. The stress brought on by anxiety disorders is disproportionate to the reality of the situation. Many people feel anxious over a job interview or stressful situation at home. The difference between those feelings and an anxiety disorder is that anxiety disorders will cause similar feelings in circumstances most people would never consider stressful.
Most of the time, a person with an anxiety disorder will understand and be aware that their stress or worry levels outweigh the given situation. However, despite this awareness, they will be unable to control their emotions.
Anxiety disorders are not usually considered dangerous, though they can be incredibly disruptive to a person’s life. Depending on the causes of anxiety, a person may go to extreme lengths to avoid areas or situations they may feel anxious about. This can negatively affect performance at work or school or lead to missing out on significant life events.
Anxiety disorders usually first appear in adolescence and get worse over time. The most common symptoms associated with anxiety disorders are nervousness, fatigue, stomach issues, muscle pains, headaches, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and a sense of impending danger.
Anxiety disorders are considered to be the most mental health disorder in the United States. Over 19% of adults in the United States and around 7% of children suffer from an anxiety disorder.
The causes of anxiety disorders are still not fully understood. Most likely, they are caused by a combination of various risk factors. Biological, psychological, and environmental factors can all play some role in the development of mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders.
Trauma or abuse, especially at an early age, can cause a person to develop an anxiety disorder. Even a traumatic event later in life can immediately cause an anxiety disorder in someone who may never have struggled with anxiety in the past. Major life changes can also play a similar role.
Personality can also play a role in anxiety. People who may be shy or quiet are naturally more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than someone talkative and outgoing. Having other anxious people in your family is also a significant factor, although research is unclear if that is a matter of genetics or learned behavior.
Underlying medical conditions can cause some anxiety disorders. Bad reactions to medications or drug use and withdrawal can play a major role in the development of anxiety disorders. Heart disease and respiratory disorders such as asthma can also increase levels of anxiety a person feels.
There are six major types of anxiety disorders that can affect people in different ways and require different treatment approaches. It is crucial to receive the correct diagnosis to treat your anxiety disorder properly. The six most common types of anxiety disorders are:
Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a condition that causes a constant feeling of worry of impending dread. As opposed to a disorder that causes a specific situation to be the source of anxiety, people who suffer from GAD feel anxious about most aspects of life. Because they are usually experiencing some level of stress or anxiety, people suffering from GAD often appear restless or “jumpy.”
Panic disorder is a condition that causes chronic and frequent panic attacks. The panic attacks may be brought on by a specific set of circumstances or occur for seemingly no reason. While most people may experience a panic attack once or twice in their lives, a person with panic disorder will experience panic attacks regularly.
One of the worst symptoms associated with panic disorder is the fear of the next attack. Because they can occur at any time, people who have panic disorder may try to be afraid of driving or traveling and avoid parties or other large social gatherings.
Phobias are intense fear associated with one specific thing or circumstance. It is possible for a person to only suffer from one phobia or suffer from many different phobias. The anxiety related to phobias is often severe enough to cause panic attacks when faced with the source of the fear.
Common examples of phobias are:
Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations or areas that may be difficult to leave or escape. While agoraphobia is a phobia, it is often separated due to how common it is and how many people suffer from it.
An agoraphobic may be unable to use public transportation or attend any social gathering with a large crowd. The fear associated with the disorder is often severe enough to cause a panic attack. If left untreated, agoraphobia can progress to the point that a person may be unable to leave their house at all.
Social anxiety is the fear of being in public or in crowds of people. Often associated with introverts, social anxiety goes far beyond simple shyness. Someone suffering from social anxiety may have panic attacks or extreme fear at the thought of talking in front of crowds or meeting new people.
Low self-esteem or a poor self-image are usually significant factors in social anxiety. Most people who suffer from social anxiety feel that they will be embarrassed when engaging with other people.
Separation anxiety is a condition that causes a person to feel an extreme sense of fear when apart from another specific person. Separation anxiety is prevalent among young children when separated from their parents. Most children move past this; however, some do not. Adults can also develop separation anxiety, especially after experiencing trauma or a major life event.
Both post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder were formally considered anxiety disorders. However, due to unique causes and involved treatment approaches, both disorders are now uniquely classified as their own conditions. While anxiety does play a major role in both disorders, neither is considered an anxiety disorder because other symptoms are also in effect.
Anxiety disorders are usually treated through a combination of medication and therapy options. medications, such as benzodiazepines, are effective in reducing the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. In some cases, antidepressants may also be used to treat anxiety.
However, it is important to note that even if medications effectively reduce anxiety symptoms, they are not cures for anxiety. Medications are best used as one aspect of a broader treatment plan.
Talk therapy approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, are often helpful to people suffering from anxiety. CBT works to build coping methods and encourage healthier behavior in the future by reframing the negative thoughts and emotions we may experience.
At AM Health Care, we are to help you deal with your mental health in any way possible. We believe in designing a treatment plan that precisely suits your condition and your needs. Mental health disorders can be disruptive and potentially dangerous when left untreated, so there is no reason to wait any longer. Please call us today at 818-383-1297 to learn more about how we can help you and potential treatment options.