According to the World Health Organization, anxiety disorders are the world’s most common mental health concern, affecting about 301 million people worldwide. These disorders are characterized by feelings of fear, worry, and unease that can range from mild to severe and can significantly impact daily life.
While anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences, anxiety disorders occur when these feelings become excessive and start to interfere with your ability to function. There are six main types of anxiety disorders recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), each with its unique set of symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
This article will discuss the 6 types of anxiety disorders, the symptoms and causes of each type, and how to begin a therapy regimen if you are experiencing symptoms associated with one or more of these disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety disorder, affecting approximately 6.8 million adults in the United States alone.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms include:
- Persistent and excessive worry about everyday situations and events
- Difficulty controlling anxious thoughts
- Restlessness or feeling on edge
- Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, irritability, and sleep disturbances.
The exact cause of GAD is unknown. It is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment options for GAD usually involve a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Panic Disorder is characterized by sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear, known as panic attacks. These attacks can appear without warning and can last for several minutes to an hour.
Symptoms of a Panic Attack may include:
- Rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or a choking sensation
- Nausea, dizziness, and feelings of unreality or detachment from oneself.
Panic disorder is thought to be caused by a combination of biological factors, such as genetics and brain chemistry, and environmental stressors. Treatment may involve therapy, medication, and learning coping techniques to manage panic attacks.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, is characterized by intense fear and avoidance of social situations.
Symptoms of SAD include:
- Fear of being judged or embarrassed in front of others
- Avoiding social situations or experiencing significant distress when faced with them
- Physical symptoms such as sweating, blushing, trembling, and nausea.
Several factors can contribute to the development of SAD, including genetics, brain chemistry, and life experiences. Treatment for social anxiety disorder often involves therapy, medication, and exposure therapy to gradually overcome fears.
Specific Phobias are characterized by an intense fear or aversion to a particular object or situation. These fears can be irrational, are overwhelming, and can significantly interfere with daily life.
Some common specific phobias include:
- Fear of spiders, heights, flying, or enclosed spaces
- Fear of needles or medical procedures
- Fear of public speaking or performance anxiety.
Specific phobias can stem from a traumatic experience or be learned through observation. Treatment often involves therapy and exposure techniques to desensitize you to the feared object or situation.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors.
Symptoms of OCD can include:
- Constant unwanted thoughts or fears (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions) in an attempt to ease anxiety
- Fear of contamination, symmetry or orderliness, harm, and excessive checking.
OCD is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Treatment for OCD typically involves therapy, medication, and learning coping techniques.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It is estimated that 7-8% of the population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
Symptoms of PTSD can include:
- Flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive memories of the traumatic event
- Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or situations associated with the trauma
- Difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, anger, or irritability.
PTSD can be caused by a variety of traumatic events, including natural disasters, combat, or physical or emotional abuse. Treatment for PTSD may involve therapy, medication, and learning coping strategies to manage symptoms.
Finding Relief Through Online Therapy
If you are experiencing symptoms associated with one or more of these anxiety disorders, know that help is available. Professional online therapy can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to explore your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and develop effective coping strategies.
As health care adapts more to the need for convenience, online therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy sessions. We specialize in online counseling at Makin Wellness because we understand the need to fit counseling into your busy schedule. For anxiety disorders, online counseling can be incredibly beneficial for symptom management and improving overall quality of life.
Some benefits of online counseling for anxiety disorders include:
- Identifying triggers and underlying causes of anxiety
- Developing healthy coping mechanisms to manage symptoms
- Learning relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or mindfulness
- Building a support system and developing social skills to combat isolation and loneliness
Through online counseling with Makin Wellness, we can set you up with the knowledge, coping mechanisms, relaxation techniques, and tips to build a support system so you can reduce your stress load and start to live a more balanced lifestyle.
Anxiety disorders are complex mental health conditions that can significantly impact your daily life. With the right treatment plan, it is possible to manage and potentially alleviate symptoms in time.
Everyone’s journey with anxiety is unique, and the most effective treatment plan will vary from person to person. At Makin Wellness, we understand that your experience with anxiety may be completely different than someone else’s, which is why we emphasize a personalized, unique treatment plan just for you.
A professional counselor can help determine the severity of your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and offer symptom management options unique to your life and experiences.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, seek out an online, licensed therapist who can help guide you toward finding relief and managing symptoms. Call us at (833)-274-heal or schedule an appointment today to take the first step toward reducing your anxiety.