This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, and anxiety has been chosen as the theme this year. Today, My Mind News investigates anxiety and provides an overview of the six most common types of anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a disorder that a medical professional formally diagnoses. It is defined by Tanja Jovanovic, Ph.D. from Emory University, “as a sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread that you feel before a significant event.”
In other words, it is how our bodies and minds respond physically, mentally, and behaviourally to potentially dangerous, stressful, or unfamiliar conditions.
Feeling anxious is different for everyone, and anxiety can confuse us and those around us. It is important to note that feeling anxious is not the same as having an anxiety disorder.
Signs associated with anxiety include increased heart rate, breathlessness or even chest pain, restfulness, muscle tension, headaches, tearfulness, problems sleeping and/or relaxing, irritability, difficulty concerning and/or feelings of panic, and feeling detached, uneasy, or withdrawn.
Anxiety UK has helpfully provided a comprehensive list of symptoms on its website.
Everyone throughout their life will experience some degree of anxiety, and normal anxiety levels are good for us as they keep us alert and safe. Prolonged feelings of anxiety are not good for us, and it can be debilitating and life-changing for sufferers.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms over a prolonged period, it is vital that you seek help and contact your doctor.
What are the types of anxiety disorders?
There are many types of anxiety, depending on how they are categorized. This article will focus on the six most comment types of anxiety.
- General anxiety – also called GAD – is the feeling of being anxious and constantly worrying all the time, no matter the situation or for no apparent reason. This constant worry will cause distress and will interfere with the individual’s ability to function daily.
- Social anxiety is when the individual feels anxious and worries about being around and talking to others over the long term. Those suffering from social anxiety are self-conscious, embarrassed, and fear how others judge them. This cycle continues until the individual avoids public places and finds it difficult to keep friends.
- Obsessive-compulsive anxiety – the characteristic of this is that the thoughts and actions are repeated and persistent. The person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. The obsession is based on repeated unwanted or unpleasant thoughts causing anxiety. A compulsion is a repetitive behavior or mental act that temporarily relieves thoughts.
- Complex post-traumatic stress anxiety – this is caused by a very stressful, frightening, or traumatic event. This event is often relived through nightmares and flashbacks. The event will significantly impact an individual life, and they may feel guilty, irritable, or become isolated as a result. Complex post-traumatic stress can sometimes develop years after the traumatic event.
- Panic attacks –repeated feelings of anxiety, stress, and panic are experienced by individuals out of the blue and without warning. These feelings often are experienced physically and psychologically, leaving an individual in fear of another panic attack.
- Phobias are a specific type of anxiety triggered by an excessive and irrational fear of a particular person, object, activity, or situation.
There are many other types of anxiety. Anxiety UK has identified 27 different types, along with a do-it-yourself diagnosis tool and supporting resources for a donation. If you need further information or support, there are various resources listed below.
In tomorrow’s article, we will share some coping strategies to help manage anxiety.
Other resources that offer support and advice
Click on the links below to discover more about other resources that offer support and advice about anxiety –