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Understanding The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

When someone is suffering from an anxiety disorder they may think they’ve gone crazy. It’s understandable. The symptoms of anxiety can make you feel out of control and they can be very disturbing. However, it’s important to know that anxiety disorders are extremely common. In fact data suggests that more than 10% of the population suffers from some type of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Some disorders are minimal and have very little effect on a person’s life. Other times a person can have several anxiety or panic attacks a day. This can leave them practically housebound and in a great deal of emotional and physical pain.

Let’s look at the five main types of anxiety disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This is the most common type of anxiety disorder. People who suffer from GAD feel extreme anxiety over everyday situations. Perhaps something as simple as going to the grocery store can plague them with worry. They may feel the trip is dangerous, the people at the store are going to laugh at them or they may worry about the cost of the grocery bill. The anxiety can be debilitating. GAD often goes hand in hand with other anxiety disorders like Social Anxiety Disorder and depression.

Social Anxiety Disorder

This disorder is exactly what it sounds like. People who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder fear social situations. This can impact their personal life to be sure. However, it also impacts their work life and basic day to day functions. Because people avoid social situations to cope, this may be diagnosed as agoraphobia. Depression may also be a side effect or parallel diagnosis.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by trauma. The trauma can be physical or emotional and often stems from abuse or witnessing an act of violence. Soldiers commonly suffer from PTSD.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is when a person creates a compulsion to manage their fears. For example, if they’re afraid of germs they may wash their hands compulsively. If they’re afraid of getting into a car accident they may circle the car six times clockwise and three times counter clockwise. The compulsions don’t always make sense. However, for a person suffering from OCD the compulsions or habits are performed obsessively. They feel like if they don’t perform the ritual or habit then they will most certainly get into a car crash or contract deadly germs, for example.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a disorder where a person experiences uncontrolled fear that causes panic attacks. Panic attacks are signaled by chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, stomach upset, a dreamlike state and sweating or trembling. Panic attacks can come upon a person for no apparent reason or trigger. Sufferers can have one panic attack a month or several a day, it depends on the severity of the case.

Anxiety disorders can make a sufferer feel as if fear is controlling their life. They feel helpless and tremendously vulnerable. However, they are treatable. Even the most severe cases can be treated with medication, therapy and behavior modification. And there are treatments available that don’t require any medication. You can learn to regain control over your thoughts and your anxiety.

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