Temporary worries and fears are normal parts of life. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety at times. This can be due to external stressors, such as problems at work, buying a new house, or helping a sick family member. If those feelings of anxiety persist and perhaps get worse over time, it may be due to an anxiety disorder. The most common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
- Restlessness and nervousness
- Excessive worrying
- Increased heart rate
- A sense of impending danger or panic
It is important to realize that there are different types of anxiety disorders, each with its own unique symptoms. Mental health treatment programs can help individuals identify which type of anxiety disorder they may have, and generally provide treatment in the form of individual, family, and group therapy sessions.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) often exhibit extreme worry most of the time. These feelings can be about anything, including work, social interactions, health, or routine situations. Other signs of GAD include fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleep problems. GAD can negatively impact one’s ability to pursue career aspirations, relationships, educational goals, and health needs.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is a condition that involves fearing and avoiding social interactions. Common signs include persistent:
- Fear of judgment
- Worrying about humiliation or embarrassment
- Fear of interacting with new people
- Avoiding attention
- Fast heartbeat
Social anxiety disorder is also commonly known as social phobia.
Individuals with panic disorder experience recurring panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden bouts of major fear and anxiety that happen quickly and reach a high intensity within a matter of minutes. Common symptoms of panic attacks include:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- A feeling of imminent doom
- Feeling out of control
Many people with panic disorder constantly worry about future panic attacks and take action to prevent them from ever occurring again. These include avoiding triggering situations, places, or behaviors. Panic attacks can occur due to an external or internal trigger or unexpectedly.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Adults and children alike can experience separation anxiety disorder. This condition is characterized by a fear of losing a person to whom they are deeply attached. They worry about the attachment figure suffering from harm or leaving permanently while apart. This intense feeling of dread often causes people to avoid separation and being alone at all costs.
A phobia is a severe fear or avoidance of a specific situation or object. The fear tends to be irrational or unreasonable in relation to any actual danger. Some phobias involve the intense fear of:
- Specific animals
- Confined Spaces
An anxiety disorder is nothing to be ashamed about. A behavioral health treatment program specializing in anxiety disorders can help individuals manage and overcome these fears. Treatment for anxiety often includes a mixture of therapy and medication, and can be very effective in helping individuals overcome their disorder.