What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety is defined as an “overwhelming sense of apprehension; the expectation that something bad is happening or will happen.” This feeling is often accompanied by symptoms such as headache, tension, dizziness, perspiration, palpitations, tightness in the chest and stomach discomfort. Everyone experiences anxiety at some time or another, and is a normal human experience. Some products such as caffeine, cocaine, alcohol and tobacco products may also cause or make anxiety symptoms worse. However, if the symptoms are severe and persistent enough to interfere with your functioning, it crosses over from normal human experience to a clinical disorder that requires treatment. Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorders, but the good news is that help is available.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are all conditions categorized as Anxiety Disorders, and require treatment.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Excessive worrying. Most people with GAD are worried most of time, and many times their worries are unrealistic. GAD is worry without apparent reason. There are many physical symptoms of GAD such as tenseness, trouble sleeping, feeling like you have knots in your stomach, dry mouth, trouble concentrating and memory difficulty.
Panic Disorder – Unexpected attacks of fear. Most panic attacks come “out of the blue.” A panic attack is usually accompanied by shortness of breath, feeling faint, dizziness, increased heart rate or palpitations, shaking, trembling, feeling hot or cold, sense of detachment or just simply feeling like you’re losing control.
Social Anxiety Disorder – Fear of being criticized or evaluated by others in public. Most with social anxiety are very nervous around people, and anxious and afraid to be in social situations. Going out in public can be intimidating and downright nerve wracking. People with social anxiety tend to like to work at home or have few people around them while working. Social anxiety tends to develop early, but with treatment the prognosis can be very good.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – After a traumatic life experience, one continues to have various, severe anxiety symptoms related to the event. People with this disorder suffer from flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares, anxiety, and avoidance of things that remind them of the traumatic event. While many people with PTSD tend to resist therapy, those who get help can overcome many of their symptoms.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – When an individual has intrusive thoughts of a frightening, disturbing, or nonsensical nature, which in turn may cause the person to do things repeatedly in an attempt to get rid of the thoughts. They might perform certain rituals to guard against danger, or to clean or check oneself or personal areas of home or work again and again. Click here to learn more about OCD.
If you feel you are suffering from one of these anxiety disorders, please schedule an appointment with My Psychiatric Partner right away to get on the road to recovery.