Mental Health & Substance Abuse

Types and symptoms of anxiety disorders

Being anxious is normal. From feeling nervous about your exams to getting anxious about the meeting you’re about to have with your boss, we face different levels of anxiety on a daily basis. However, anxiety disorder is not just about the temporary fear of something. It may get worse and needs immediate consultation with a professional. Anxiety disorder refers to a number of conditions, which may lead to irregular heartbeats or palpitations.

Here are 5 major anxiety disorders that you should know about.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
The worry or fear of something that one experiences even when there is little or nothing to worry about is known as a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is considered a chronic anxiety disorder, which leads to inflated worry or tension.

Panic disorder
One of the common types of anxiety disorders, panic disorder is the constant and intense fear, often characterized by unexpected episodes. The fear accompanied by panic disorder may also lead to some physical signs and symptoms such as heart palpitations, abdominal distress, chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
An anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a persistent behavioral compulsion. Some of the repetitive behaviors may include cleaning, hand washing, counting, and others. These behaviors are often performed by a person with the hope of preventing the same. Moreover, these actions or repetitive behaviors only provide temporary relief to the person and does not make the anxiety go away. Also, not performing these action increases anxiety.

Social phobia
Also known as social anxiety disorder, social phobia is the feeling of excessive self-consciousness and exaggerated anxiety during everyday social situations. Fear of speaking in informal or formal situations is one of the most common social phobias. Another type of social phobia includes, in its most severe form, eating in front of others. Most of the time, a person with social phobia experiences symptoms when around other people or in any social circumstances.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
One of the serious anxiety disorders is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is an anxiety disorder usually develops once the person has experienced physical harm caused by an ordeal or a terrifying event, which has been threatening to the person. Some of the events that trigger PTSD include accidents, human-caused or natural incidents or disasters, violent physical or mental assaults, or military combat, to name a few.

Symptoms and signs of anxiety disorders
Most of the types of anxiety disorders share similar signs and symptoms, some of them include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Trouble staying calm and still
  • Uneasiness, fear, and panic
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Numb or tingling hands and feet
  • Sweaty and cold hands and feet
  • Dry mouth
  • Tense muscles

The constant fear or worry can be disabling and get overwhelming for everyone. It is necessary to get the right medical attention from a professional and specific treatment can help people manage anxiety.