|May 3, 2009||Posted by healthsmartmom under Brain Health, Health Issues|
We’ve all felt anxious at one point or another; it’s a perfectly normal response to stress. Feeling fear and anxiety actually helps us to cope and accurately respond to stressful situations. However, people with anxiety disorders feel stress even if there is no trigger there to set it off. This can cause problems with their mental health, personal relationships, jobs, and physical health.
Not all anxiety disorders are the same; there are actually several different classes. Plus, just because someone has one disorder doesn’t mean they can’t have another, or at least have some overlapping symptoms. Here’s a basic overview of the broad types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized anxiety disorder – While its normal for people to worry occasionally about things when there are lots of stressors, people with generalized anxiety disorder tend to never stop worrying. They may be worried about finances even if they’re not tight, or constantly expecting bad things to happen even when they don’t. This constant stress can also lead to physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, trembling, twitching, hot flashes, sweating, and difficulty swallowing.
Panic disorder – Unlike generalized anxiety disorder, people with panic disorder don’t have anxiety all the time. Anxiety attacks hit suddenly and without warning or cause. A anxiety or panic attack is characterized by tight, pounding chest, terror, difficulty breathings, dizziness, shaking, nausea, numbness is extremities, chills or hot flashes, and a fear of losing control.
Social anxiety disorder – This is also known as social phobia and is an extreme fear of social interaction. People with this disorder are constantly worried about people judging them or about being embarrassed in front of people. For some people, the disorder is so severe they don’t participate in normal socializing activities and some are even mute in certain situations.
Post traumatic stress disorder – This diagnosis has become much more prevalent in the past few years. Often, people become ridden with anxiety after a traumatic event and constantly worry about similar situations happening again. For more severe cases, the person can be left unable to live their normal life again. While stressful events trigger the symptoms, not everyone in a similar situation will develop PTSD.
Obsessive compulsive disorder – This is an anxiety disorder that includes persistent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). Someone may obsess over germs and then compulsively clean and sanitize. Compulsive behavior often includes rituals that must be done before a person can go on with their daily lives and activities.
The problem with some anxiety disorders is that many people don’t even realize they have them. If they’ve had the problem their whole life, it’s something they simply see as a normal part of life. Others will likely just see them as overprotective or simply a worry wart and just write it off. While it may just seem like an inconvenience, it can build into a real problem.
The good news is that these disorders are treatable. There are many new medications and therapies that can help you live a normal, healthy life.