What do you think of when you hear the word “anxiety”?
It could be that general uneasiness you feel when you are nervous, or possibly a feeling of impending disaster due to some outside force. What about that gut twisting sensation you get when being surrounded by strangers in an elevator, and how does that compare to being so afraid of germs that you won’t even leave the house.
The point is, the term anxiety can encompass a lot of possible issues and without understanding the different anxiety disorders, it is going to be nearly impossible to work on.
The word anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”, and as you can see, all of the above examples would fit into that definition, but does that mean they are all the same?
Of course not.
There are three main categories that encapsulate anxiety-related disorders:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
- Trauma and stressor-related disorders
For the purpose of this article, we are going to be going over anxiety disorders. All of these share common features of excessive fear and anxiety towards threats both real and perceived, as well as in the present or in the future.
Before we go into the specifics, it is important to point out that occasional anxiety is normal. It makes sense if you are feeling anxious before a big meeting or first date. The issues come when these feelings become debilitating and start to impact your lifestyle.
The Different Levels of Anxiety
With every different anxiety disorder comes varying levels of symptoms. The way these are typically categorized is by mild, acute, and severe anxiety.
Mild anxiety symptoms are the most commonly experienced. At this stage, symptoms can be only occasional but beginning to arise more consistently.
At this stage, it’s hard to categorize your anxiety into a specific disorder but you may be feeling an almost constant worry or nervousness about a specific part of your life. These thoughts are often completely irrational, though at the moment they can feel as though your life is on the line.
Some symptoms you may be experiencing as a result of this state of worry are:
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to concentrate
The most common treatment for mild cases of anxiety is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and natural anxiety supplements.
As Dr. Carlo of Anxietyboss.com says –
“Certainly, for severe anxiety, and for anxiety that does not respond to psychotherapy, then seeing the doctor for a possible prescription for anxiety medication is warranted. However, for the milder cases of anxiety, choosing a natural remedy for anxiety relief is becoming a viable option, given the research studies showing they are safe and effective.”
If you’re looking to try a natural product before considering prescription medications, check out our 250MG CBD Oil.
Acute anxiety is a point in which your anxiety has reached a constant state in your life. You’re waking up anxious, living your day feeling worried and struggling to get to bed because of your anxiety.
These symptoms are usually the result of a specific time in your life that is particularly traumatic–abusive relationships, past mistakes, and other traumatizing experiences are often cited here.
Severe anxiety is a point in which your anxiety is completely debilitating and having a massive effect on your lifestyle. If you’re suffering from social anxiety disorder, this may be the point in which you avoid leaving your house or suffer from panic attacks at the thought of going out.
Eleanor Morgan profoundly describes her experiences with severe anxiety and what it’s like to deal with.
“ One afternoon, I started to feel nauseous in biology class. My hands went numb and I felt as if my skull was about to crack like an egg. It was an alien feeling, one with no reference point whatsoever. I went to the toilet and there, for a few minutes, my brain and body weren’t my own. I thought I was going to vomit, but nothing came. Just wave after wave of nauseating pressure, from my temples to my toes. Then came a cold, black fear like I’d never known: my head swam, the walls felt like Silly Putty. Absolutely nothing in my body or surroundings made sense. This was possession, pure and simple.”
The Most Common Types of Anxiety Disorders
Social Anxiety Disorder
People with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) have an intense fear of social interactions and performances. The anxiety comes from anticipating becoming humiliated or embarrassed in the social situations and being overly concerned with how they appear to others.
This worry often causes people suffering from social anxiety disorder to avoid social situations altogether. The problem with that is if you avoid social situations altogether, you can never even try to get more comfortable with them.
- Excessive sweating
- Blushing or stuttering when you speak
- Excessive worrying that you will say or do something wrong and that something terrible will happen because of it.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) have constant, excessive, and uncontrollable worry over mostly all events and situations (work, family life, health, finances), not just in specific stressful situations.
In order to be diagnosed, one requirement is that a person must find it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least 6 months. This persistent worrying gets to the point that everyday activities become difficult.
- Feeling restless, irritable or on edge
- Having a sense of impending danger
- Excessive sweating
- Having problems sleeping
- Difficulty controlling worry
People who have a Specific Phobia Disorder have an intense fear or anxiety regarding a specific type of object or situation.
Specific phobias are separated into the following categories: animal type, natural environment type, blood/injury type, situational type, and other. The fear is also disproportionate to the actual danger imposed by the object or situation.
People with Specific Phobia Disorder actively avoid their trigger, but sometimes that’s not enough. Even thinking about their feared object or situation is enough to trigger extreme anxiety.
- Persistent, intense and unreasonable fear of a specific object, activity, or situation.<.li>
- Actively avoiding situations where you may have to face your phobia.
People suffering from agoraphobia have excessive fear related to being in (or even anticipating) situations where escape might be difficult or getting help might be difficult. These can be places like shopping malls, movie theaters, large parking lots, etc.
This disorder is particularly hard to avoid. In extreme cases, people become reclusive and stay in their houses at all times.
People who have agoraphobia have crippling fear in at least two of the five following situations:
- Using public transportation
- Being in open spaces
- Being in enclosed spaces
- Standing in line or being in a crowded place
- Being outside their home, alone
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation Anxiety used to be to thought of a problem just for children not wanting to leave their parents. Over the last decade, it has been more heavily researched in adults and how it is affecting them.
People who suffer from this disorder have excessive anxiety concerning separation from people or places they are attached to.
The worry is that something horrible will happen to the other while they are away. This leads to people getting overly attached, never wanting to be alone and even not performing everyday activities just to be by the person they are attached to.
- Persistent distress when separated from home or attachment figure
- Worry that something harmful is going to happen to their attachment figure while they are gone
- Repeated complaints of physical symptoms (like headaches and stomachaches) when separated from an attachment figure
- Refusal to sleep when away from an attachment figure
Wrapping it up
There are many different types of anxiety disorders, with some sharing common characteristics. By knowing what exactly you are dealing with it, it becomes easier to try to manage and improve upon your conditions.
If you think that you are suffering from one of these disorders it is imperative that you consult with a medical professional.