Types Of Anxiety

My type? Tall, dark, a sense of impending doom.

To recap the last post, the definition of anxiety is:

“A mental health disorder characterised by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. These feelings are usually accompanied by physical sensations such as a churning stomach, light headedness, and a racing heart.

Whilst everyone is likely to experience anxiety or general anxiousness at some point in their lives, for a person with an anxiety disorder, these uncomfortable feelings are more than just a temporary worry. The anxiety never truly goes away and it can get worse over time, if not managed. The feelings (both mental and physical) that come with anxiety disorders can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.”

However, there are many different types of anxiety disorders and each disorder has its own range of symptoms. These disorders include:

Generalised anxiety disorder — This is excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there’s little or nothing to provoke the anxiety. The symptoms for this include:

  • Fatigue
  • Racing or unwanted thoughts
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Feeling of impending doom
  • Insomnia

Panic disorder — People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Other symptoms of a panic attack include sweating, chest pain, palpitations (unusually strong or irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking. It can feel like you’re having a heart attack or “going crazy.” The symptoms include:

  • Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
  • Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
  • Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
  • Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

Social anxiety disorder — Also called social phobia, this involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centres on a fear of being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
  • Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people
  • Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Staying away from places where there are other people
  • Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around

Specific phobias — These are intense fears of a specific object or situation, such as heights or flying. The level of fear is usually inappropriate to the situation and may cause you to avoid common, everyday situations.

There’s also…

Agoraphobia — Often when people have panic attacks the episodes are so overwhelming they will do anything to avoid having the experience again. This avoidance behaviour is called agoraphobia. People often think agoraphobia means fear of crowds or open spaces, but it is actually a fear of having a panic attack in a situation where you feel your escape might be difficult (or embarrassing), or where help might not be available.

Specific Phobia — Many people admit to being afraid of snakes and spiders but they can manage their fears quite well. With specific phobias, however, the fear is not manageable. Instead, the person experiences overwhelming fear when faced with a particular object or situation, and this often leads to avoidance behaviour. There are many types of objects, animals and situations that can trigger this type of fear, including, flying, spiders, heights, dentists, doctors, blood, injections, storms, etc.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs when a person has been exposed to traumatic events that cause her to experience distressing psychological symptoms that can become disabling. Common symptoms include nightmares; feelings of anger, irritability or emotional numbness; detachment from others; and flashbacks, during which the person relives the traumatic event. Frequently, the person will try to avoid situations or activities that remind her of the event.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — Obsessive compulsive disorder is a condition in which a person experiences intrusive thoughts, images or impulses. These are often very disturbing to you and may make the person feel anxious (obsessions). In turn, the person may perform certain acts or rituals in order to feel better or less anxious (compulsions). Typically, obsessions include fears of contamination, doubting (such as worrying that you didn’t lock the door), thoughts of hurting others, disturbing thoughts that go against the person’s religious beliefs, or thoughts of performing acts the person feels are highly inappropriate. Compulsions can involve repeated checking, counting, washing, touching, or organising things over and over again until they are symmetrical or “just right”.

It’s easy to read the above and quickly self-diagnose (we ALL do it) but it’s important to get yourself out of bed (if that’s where you’re hiding) and go talk to a professional. Or your family doctor or a friend or a parent… and then eventually, a real mental health professional who will be able to “officially” diagnose you and suggest possible treatments.

If you haven’t spoken to anyone about your anxiety (or general mental health) then please, take a deep breath and do it. Even if it’s just a support group on the internet. As a chronic bottler of feelings, I can tell you that it isn’t healthy or beneficial to keep problems or issues to yourself, even if you think that by sharing, you are burdening others. You aren’t.

Don’t suffer in silence because you’re afraid of what people might think or because you’re worried they won’t listen. Someone will always listen and someone will always care.

Mental Health Support in the UK

Mental Health Support in Ireland

Mental Health Support in the US

Worldwide Support

Online Support

Want to read more? Visit the original blog where all the posts go first.