Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. It also interferes with daily activities. Read below to see the different types of anxiety disorders.
General Anxiety Disorder
Someone with generalized anxiety disorder worries a lot. This person may have ongoing anxiety that gets in the way of their everyday life—something small like a doctor's appointment can cause much strain. Symptoms are similar to panic disorders, and include: persistent or excessive worrying about the impact of an event, inability to relax (restlessness), difficulty concentrating, and more.
It is not uncommon to have one or two panic attacks in your life. But someone with a panic disorder has reoccuriing episodes, or they live in fear of another one happening. Panic attacks are not life-threatening. They are sudden feelings of intense fear that cause physical reactions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, repeated thoughts and behaviors. Many of these obsessions and compulsions stem around a theme (i.e. fear of germs, having things symmetrical, etc.)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
When someone is exposed to a terrifying event (a physical attack, death of a loved one, car accident, etc.), they can develop PTSD. As a result, a person can become easily irritable and startled, have reoccuring nightmares, intense flashbacks, and/or lose interest in the things they used to enjoy.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Also known as "social phobia," this condition causes irrational anxiety in social situations. People fear they will be judged, and can also have feelings of embarrasment, self-consciousness, or are afraid of offending others. These anxieties can cause physical symptoms, and/or make the individual stay away from social settings.
If any of the above pertains to you or a loved one:
*The National Institute of Mental Health suggests a thorough mental health evaluation because anxiety disorders can co-exist with other related mental health conditions, such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.