Panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder are just some of the different types of anxiety disorders that affect millions of adult Americans every year. Anxiety problems are more common in women than in men, and are identified by extreme feelings of panic, worry, or a preoccupation with negative events that could occur in the person’s life.
According to WebMD.com, an anxiety disorder “is a serious mental illness. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be crippling.” Recognizing the different types of anxiety disorder can help the person cope better with the effect and the situation that may be causing the problem. Here’s a close look at the different types of anxiety disorders:
1. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This disorder is associated with obsessive rituals and behaviors that help the person reduce feeling s of fear or anxiety when they’re performed. The person typically designs their own routine to help reduce a certain type of fear. For example, someone who fears germs and disease may constantly wash their hands. Someone who fears that things will be out of control may constantly arrange and rearrange furniture or objects in the home.
2. Social anxiety disorder. This anxiety disorder is also known as a social phobia, and involves extreme self-consciousness or worry about what other people are thinking about the person. The person suffering from this type of anxiety disorder usually fears being judged, ridiculed or shamed by others, so they avoid social situations altogether.
3. Generalized anxiety disorder. This type of anxiety disorder is the most common among adult men and women in the United States, and consists of constant worry, angst or tension about situations that may not be in proportion with the actual circumstance or event. This can turn into a problem when it interferes with relationships, work or the person’s emotional health.
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This anxiety disorder typically occurs after someone has survived a particularly terrifying or traumatic event. The person may have nightmares or recurrent memories about the event, and can have difficult functioning in everyday life. In some cases, mildly stressful situations can trigger extreme anxiety, fear or anger, because the person is reliving the traumatic experience and reacting to it in the present time.
5. Agoraphobia and other phobias. Agoraphobia is an intense fear of having a panic attack in a public situation that could cause severe embarrassment. Other phobias related to anxiety disorders are often experienced by those who have been diagnosed with panic disorder and other disorders, and are rooted in feelings of being ashamed or judged about their problem. The “anxiety about anxiety” is a hallmark trait of these types of phobias. Another common anxiety problem that falls in this category is the fear of driving.
These panic and anxiety disorders are just some of the major problems experienced by those who have difficulty coping with stress, have a history of traumatic experiences, or have a family history of anxiety problems. Identifying the type of anxiety problem is the first step towards treatment, and there are several effective treatments available.