Everyone feels anxious at some point in their life, and we’ve all felt the symptoms of anxiety disorders. However, when that anxiety becomes chronic and interferes with your ability to live your life, it becomes a problem. More than 40 million adults in the U.S. live with an anxiety disorder, making it the most common mental health issue.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders. Anxiety is both a classification of disorders as well as the most prominent symptom. Alongside generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety and panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder also fit within this classification. While each diagnosis labels a cluster of symptoms, each under this umbrella is characterized by extreme amounts of worry.
Common mental symptoms of anxiety include:
- Constantly anticipating the worst
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling jumpy or tense
- Frequent feelings of dread
- Irritability or restlessness
Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Racing heart
- Shortness of breath
- Upset stomach
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
You can identify generalized anxiety disorder by the persistent and extreme worry about various aspects of your life. While certain events are normal to stress about, GAD takes that stress to new heights.
Panic disorder involves sudden bouts of intense fear called panic attacks. These can happen for no apparent reason. These events can become so distressing that those who have it become anxious about having another panic attack.
Phobias are irrational fears of places, objects or situations. These are usually around something specific. Most of the time, those who have phobias recognize that their anxiety is irrational. However, this doesn’t make it go away. Sometimes these fears are so intense that they make it difficult to go to work or school and interfere with relationships.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves fear of everyday interactions. Most of the time, people with this disorder are afraid of being judged by other people and constantly aware of how others interact with them. This disorder can lead to avoidance of many social situations, which interferes with your ability to work and live your life.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
We tend to diagnose separation anxiety disorder more frequently in children than adults. The distress of being separated from home or family is the prominent feature of this diagnosis. Often, those with social anxiety disorder will also worry about losing a loved one or fear that something terrible will happen. These fears combined can make it difficult to attend school or work.
How to Treat Anxiety
If you have one or more of the above disorders, you’re not alone. There are dozens of different types of treatment that can help you live your life again. If your anxiety is so severe that you can’t function in day-to-day life, you might consider going to inpatient treatment.
The best way for you to reduce your anxiety is to see a mental health professional. Start with seeing a therapist you trust, and they’ll help you find a treatment that works best for your specific situation.
Know that anxiety gets better with treatment. Whether you start going through therapy or learn stress management skills, there are numerous ways for you to improve your anxiety.