Understanding Anxiety Disorders


Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions affecting people today. Both children and adults today are susceptible to these conditions. In the US, approximately 19 million adults suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. These conditions affect people’s lives on a daily basis, restricting their ability to work, relax, eat, and even sleep. Anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and they can grow progressively worse if not treated. Here’s a closer look at some common anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Also called GAD, this is a common anxiety disorder characterized by chronic episodes of “free floating” anxiety or apprehension that are not linked to a specific cause or situation. These episodes of GAD may last for six months or more. Stressful life events, such as moving, changing jobs, losing a loved one, or suffering a financial hardship can trigger or contribute to the anxiety. Muscle tension, sweating, difficulty swallowing, edginess, nausea, trembling, insomnia, abdominal upsets, dizziness, and irritability are the common physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Women are twice as likely as men to be affected by this condition.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: OCD is commonly joked about in movies and television programs. Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good as It Gets suffered from obsessive compulsive anxiety disorder. However, sufferers of the condition, and their loved ones, don’t find it to be a joking matter. With this condition, individuals are plagued by constant thoughts or obsessions that create fear and anxiety. For instance, a sufferer of obsessive-compulsive disorder might constantly fear being contaminated by germs or burning down the house. These obsessions compel the person to compulsively complete a routine or series of routines (such as washing hands or checking the toaster) to relieve the anxiety. Over one third of individuals who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder began to demonstrate signs of the disease in childhood.

Panic Disorder: A panic disorder is characterized by intense attacks that cause the sufferer to experience such symptoms as heart palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, sweating, trembling, tingling sensations, feeling of choking, fear of dying, fear of losing control, and loss of touch with reality. People with panic disorder have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. They can’t predict when an attack will occur, and many develop intense anxiety between episodes, worrying when and where the next one will strike. These attacks may be triggered by a stressful event or they may come on for no discernible reason. People who suffer from panic attacks are often uncomfortable in new or unfamiliar environments since they may be unsure of how they will get themselves to safety if an attack should occur. For this reason, panic disorders often occur with agoraphobia, in which people are afraid of any strange places. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from a panic disorder.

Phobias: Many people experience a healthy amount of fear or apprehension when faced with scary objects like spiders or situations such as looking over the edge of a cliff. But people who are intensely afraid of a specific object or situation may be suffering from an anxiety disorder known as a phobia. A phobic person displays a level of fear that is irrational and disproportionate to the situation. Specific phobias often lead sufferers to avoid normal, everyday situations. Over 14 million adult Americans are affected by one type of phobia or another. Some of the more common specific phobias are centered around closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, dogs, and injuries involving blood.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a debilitating anxiety disorder that is typically triggered by witnessing or taking part in a major traumatic event. Childhood abuse, rape, war, a terrorist act, death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a catastrophic accident are all frequent causes of post traumatic stress disorder. Regardless of the cause, the development of post traumatic stress disorder often leads to intense feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror. After the traumatic event, many people experience nightmares, daytime flashbacks of the event, difficulty sleeping, numbness of emotions, or sometimes even personality changes. For many people, these symptoms stop within a month. However, for many others, the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder may continue for months or even years.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Social anxiety disorder affects men as frequently as it affects women. People who suffer from this condition tend to feel extreme anxiety about their behavior or their perceived behavior in a public setting. They may be terrified of being judged or ridiculed or causing themselves embarrassment. Physical symptoms associated with this social anxiety disorder include heart palpitations, faintness, blushing and profuse sweating. These symptoms often lead the sufferer to avoid social situations.

For more information go to http://www.stress-anxiety-depression.org

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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