Understanding the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Do you stay awake at night worrying about things you can’t control? Or do you have the overwhelming urge to wash your hands incessantly, even though they’re clean? These are just a couple of examples of what living with an anxiety disorder is like. Because there’s more than one type, the range of symptoms can be vast and complex.

At Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, our skilled team helps you to understand your anxiety diagnosis and figure out a treatment plan that works for you. Our three skilled doctors give you the tools you need to fight your anxiety and get your life back.

What is anxiety?

Just about everyone experiences some sort of anxiety at some point in their lives. It may be the jitters before a first date, or butterflies in your stomach before a presentation. Either way, that feeling usually subsides, and you move on.

However, when those feelings begin to creep up more often, and they begin to affect your ability to live your life normally, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a mental health disorder that produces feelings of fear and worry so severe that your ability to function is impaired.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 40 million people over the age of 18 have some form of anxiety disorder. This just shows how prevalent a problem anxiety really is. There are several types of this disorder — some of the symptoms overlap, while others are unique to the specific type of anxiety.

Symptoms of anxiety

Symptoms of anxiety can vary, depending on how severe your condition is. They can also manifest themselves physically, as well as emotionally. One of the main signs that you’ll experience is extreme worry or fear. Other symptoms may include:

Physical manifestations include shortness of breath or a fast heart rate. The intense worry may also produce gastrointestinal distress. 

Types of anxiety disorders

The term “anxiety” encompasses several different disorders, each with their own set of symptoms and characteristics. Some of the most common types of anxiety disorders are:

Generalized anxiety disorder

This form of anxiety occurs when you have constant worry about everyday things, like your job or the health of a loved one. This constant worry interferes with your daily activities and can manifest itself as restlessness, muscle tension, or trouble concentrating.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD develops after you experience some kind of traumatic event, where you either suffered harm or your life was in danger. It may arise after a bad car accident, physical assault, or military combat. With PTSD, you often experience flashbacks of the event.

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is marked by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) followed by repetitive actions (compulsions). The obsessions are temporarily calmed by performing the compulsions, but usually the vicious cycle quickly starts all over again. An example of this disorder is the fear of getting dirty, followed by repetitive hand washing.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety that causes you to suffer from frequent panic attacks that come on without warning. You may experience symptoms similar to a heart attack, including chest pain and shortness of breath. This disorder can be so severe that it leads you to complete isolation to try to stop the attacks.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder is more than just you being shy. It causes intense fear in social situations, often leading you to avoid any kind of social activities. The most common cause of the disorder is an irrational fear of public humiliation.

No matter which type of anxiety disorder you’re dealing with, our doctors offer treatment options to help get your anxiety under control so that you can lead a productive life with less worry and fear. 

When you’re suffering with a mental health problem like anxiety and you need treatment, call Carolina Wellness Psychiatry at 919-446-3232, or request an appointment using our online booking tool. The sooner you come in for a consultation, the sooner you can rid yourself of your anxiety.

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