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Everyone experiences anxiety at some point or another in their lives. While anxiety is a very normal emotion that people experience when they feeling the oncoming of a threat, anxiety disorders are a different problem all together. The difference between normal feelings of anxiety and anxiety disorders usually lie in the severity of symptoms. Anxiety can be a very unpleasant feeling, but it usually subsides at some point. Anxiety disorders can be very disruptive to one’s life and interfere with their day to day lifestyle if left untreated. In some cases with anxiety disorders, symptoms of anxiety can be so extreme that they can be immobilizing and leave the person incapable of carrying on with their daily obligations. Symptoms will normally vary according to which anxiety disorder a person is dealing with. Some of the most common anxiety disorders include the following:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This is the most common type of anxiety disorder. It can be defined as a continuous state of physical and/or mental tension and nervousness, with the inability to break away from the anxiety. People who suffer from GAD find themselves feeling constantly agitated, anxious and stressed out. This constant stress tends to be very disruptive to their daily lives. In cases like this one, anxiety can occur for no reason and leave the person feeling miserable and incapable of properly dealing with everyday stressors.

Panic Disorder

This is a debilitating anxiety disorder that can bring about bouts of anxiety so severe that hospitalization may be required. This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by panic attacks, which are episodes of extreme anxiety that can cause excessive sweating, tingling sensations, numbness or weakness of body, dizziness, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, digestive problems and depersonalization.

Panic attacks can be triggered by one feeling an over sensitivity to sensations in their body, by stress or even for no reason at all. Panic disorders can be very difficult to control without seeking help. Panic attacks have been known to sometimes occur without warning and seeking help is imperative to stopping them.

Social anxiety

Social anxiety refers to the irrational fear of social situations. Some degree of this usually is normal, up to a certain extent. Everyone has their own personal fears, such as the normal discomfort while speaking in public and shyness in social situations. These feelings are natural for some people and do not pose a threat of an anxiety disorder. However when this fear becomes so intense and constant, that it interferes with one’s life, then they may be struggling with an anxiety disorder.

This occurs in cases where the shyness and fear that’s attached to speaking with people and engaging in social situations causes highly uncomfortable levels of anxiety and leaves the person incapable carrying on with their day to day lives. In many cases, this fear attached to social situations, becomes so intense that people will avoid these situations all together. They will often find themselves feeling fearful of unfamiliar people and situations and obsessing over being judged by others.

Specific phobias

People sometimes attach feelings of intense and irrational fear to other specific scenarios or objects. Phobias are generally characterized by disastrous thinking where the person believes that the worst possible scenario could happen. Such objects that could be subject to phobias include spiders, snakes, blood or airplanes. Often a person may try to avoid any and all situations where the feared object could possibly be present. Just like with social phobia, people will engage in avoidance behaviors. They are often incapable of controlling their fears and experience restrictions to their normal daily routine because their constant fear could interfere with it.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Most people experience tragedy in their lives and in some cases, they may fall into harm’s way or their life may even be at risk. In some of these cases, when one experiences serious trauma, whether it be emotionally or physically, it can lead to a terrible anxiety problem known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event. Those who suffer from PTSD oftentimes must seek outside help. This is because the residual effects of PTSD can be long term and may even last for the remainder of one’s life if it is left untreated. In many cases, patients with PTSD will often relive the traumatic event mentally and physically and can become disconnected with reality. Like panic attacks, these episodes may have some triggers that initiate them, but in some cases they may occur without any real warning.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

People with obsessive compulsive disorder can often display symptoms that may seem unusual those around them. Obsessions mark the mental aspect of this condition. People with OCD will find themselves becoming highly preoccupied with a certain thought, fear or negative feeling that they can’t get rid of no matter what they do. Compulsions mark the physical behavior and are often exhibited through certain rituals. For example, people with OCD may feel the need to perform certain rituals such as constantly washing one’s hands. The inclination to engage in these thoughts or behaviors may be so intense that it feels like they are out of the patient’s actual control.

Finding help

The Anxiety Treatment Helpline is committed to helping those with anxiety disorders find effective options for mental health treatment. They can be progressive conditions that, if left untreated, can leave one incapable of coping with even the most minute problems in their lives. If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, it’s imperative that you seek professional help. Feel free to call us at 866-971-7951 to speak to a member of our team. One of our treatment specialists will assist you in finding an anxiety treatment program that is right for you.