What is Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal human emotion commonly expressed as feelings of nervousness and worry. It generally concerns an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Encountering a problem at work, preparing for a test, or making an important decision, are situations that could provoke normal anxiety. However, when anxious thoughts and behaviors are prolonged and the distress begins to cause a negative impact of daily life and functioning, anxiety disorder has developed.
What Are the Types of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of excessive worry and fear that is both overwhelming and debilitating. These disorders can often lead to, or be accompanied by secondary issues such as low self-esteem, dysfunctional relationships, substance abuse, and depression.
Feelings of severe apprehension and impending doom or terror are often described. Those suffering with this disorder typically have free-floating (or persistent) anxiety along with anxiety attacks, which are recurrent. Anxiety attacks, also known as Panic attacks, typically involve a physical reaction such as sweating, strong heart palpitations, choking or feeling like throat is about to close up. In some severe cases, people have confused this feeling with having a heart attack.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
People with this disorder have persistent levels of anxiety involving unrealistic or irrational worries and tension. The symptoms of this disorder can appear with little to nothing done to provoke them.
Phobias are the most common mental health disorder in the United States. A phobia is a focused, strong, persistent, and irrational fear of some specific object or situation. Some common phobias are:
o Social Phobia: intense fear of being studied in a social setting. Performance anxiety and fear of public speaking are most common.
o Specific Phobia: extreme fear of a specific object, such as spiders, or a specific situation.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
Characterized by repetitive, unreasonable thoughts and fears, such as contamination or odd numbers, that provoke anxiety (obsessions) and ritualistic activities such as excessive hand washing over guilt behavior that reduce anxiety (compulsions). It is possible to only have only obsessions or compulsions and still have OCD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
Develops in response to extreme psychological or physical trauma, which produces feelings of terror and helplessness. Symptoms include but aren’t limited to; re-experiencing the traumatic event in dreams or memories, avoidance of activities associated with trauma, and heightened emotional arousal.