Advice and Help

Different Types of Anxiety

According to science, there are 5 main types of anxiety disorders, each with their own fun effects on our day to day lives. While these disorders are all distinct, that does not mean that symptoms of one can not be found in another, or that a person can not have multiple anxiety disorders with different degrees of severity. I am a prime example, because I have been diagnosed with 4 of the 5 (yay me).

First, we have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is the one most people are familiar with. GAD is characterized by excessive worrying and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it. An example could be being nervous before an exam, being nervous while you drive to work about dying, or just feeling on edge for no apparent reason.

Second, we have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Many people seem to not think of OCD as an anxiety disorder and just as its own stand alone disorder but it does in fact fall under the anxiety umbrella. OCD is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). The most well known behaviors associated with OCD are checking the door multiple times, flipping a light switch a certain number of times, or counting steps. It can also be as simple as recurrent thoughts that repeat in your head.

Third is Panic Disorder (PD). Panic Disorder is what causes panic attacks. It can involve many physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizzy spells.

Fourth is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is the only one that I do not suffer from. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which physical harm occurred or was threatened. There are thousands of examples of events that could cause PTSD, and it all just depends on the person how they react.

Fifth and final is Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder. Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety and self-consciousness in everyday social situations. It can be limited to only one type of situation – such as a fear of speaking in front of a crowd, or eating or drinking in front of others – or, it may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.

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