7 Types of Anxiety Disorders
"Anxiety" itself can refer to a general state of worry. Chronic anxiety is what manifests as an anxiety disorder. In fact, there are several different types of anxiety disorders, each characterized by certain motivating factors or symptoms.
1. Generalized anxiety disorder - chronic anxiety for no apparent reason for over 6 months
2. Social anxiety - fear of social situations, specifically fear of judgment or humiliation by others
3. Separation anxiety - fear of being away from home or family
4. Phobia - fear of certain activities, objects, or situations
5. Hypochondriasis - fear of having serious health issues
6. Obsessive-compulsive disorder - recurring thoughts that cause specific behaviors
7. Post-traumatic stress disorder - severe anxiety after a traumatic event
Each anxiety disorder can have a myriad of symptoms, but the underlying situation often helps a healthcare practitioner or therapist classify and treat the disorder. No matter which category you fall into, anxiety symptoms can have a notable effect on your body with raised stress hormones and increased risk of chronic health problems.
The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
Physical symptoms of anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways - from rapid, shallow breathing and a pounding heart during a panic attack to headaches, loss of libido, fatigue, and upset stomach are also common. Physical symptoms can also be less expected - hearing loss, distorted vision, altered depth perception, 'pins and needles' or shock feelings, and more. Let's talk about hearing loss as an example.
Hearing loss can exacerbate anxiety, especially in social situations. A fear of hearing loss can also lead to increased mental and physical anxiety symptoms. Scheduling a hearing test to address the situation will help directly address that source of anxiety. If the hearing loss turns out to be only stress-related - that is, it comes and goes, and may occur right before a panic attack, seeking treatment for your anxiety disorder will help manage that issue.
The Mental Symptoms of Anxiety
The unease, nervousness, and worry I mentioned earlier are all mental, or psychological, symptoms of anxiety. While some amount of stress can drive us to achieve and provide internal motivation, when stress crosses the line into generalized anxiety, the effect on our behavior can be inhibiting. Easily distracted and irritated, impatient, feeling on edge, and a sense of dread are all consequences of the mental symptoms of anxiety.
When you worry about those symptoms, they can exacerbate your anxiety. When those symptoms cause you to retreat away from friends, or fall behind at work, they provide tangible reasons to worry.
To recap, anxiety disorders manifest in many ways and differ from person to person. Don't let your list of nonspecific symptoms keep you from seeking help. Some research does show that women are less likely to be treated for depression, anxiety, and pain disorders when working with a male doctor, which of course only exacerbates the situation. If you are a woman, and are seeking help from a new healthcare practitioner, you may consider looking for a female doctor.
Learn more about anxiety disorders and depression from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America or Mind (UK). It's important to seek treatment from a professional, and they have resources to point you towards help.
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