It’s perfectly normal to experience anxiety before taking a test, making important decisions, or facing a difficult challenge. But if you suffer from one of the several types of anxiety disorders, you feel more than simply anxious from time to time.
Affecting approximately 40 million U.S. adults 18 and over, anxiety disorders are the most prevalent of mental illnesses. That’s a staggering 18.1% of the United States population. However, because of the negative stigma surrounding mental health or a lack of access to receiving anxiety disorder treatment, only 36.9% of those suffering get the help they need.
If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, it’s a good idea to see a medical provider to get a diagnosis. But take a look at the symptoms of the different types of anxiety disorders to get an idea of where you may fall.
The Five Most Common Types of Anxiety Disorders and Their Symptoms
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
If you have GAD, you’ve found yourself feeling anxious or worried on a daily basis for at least six months or longer. Your anxiety could be over several things, including your health, social issues, work or school, or just life’s routines. The anxiety and fear you feel daily could negatively impact your daily life.
The symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include:
- Fatigued Easily
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Muscle tension
- Restless, on-edge feelings
- Constant worry
- Sleep problems
Panic Disorder (PD)
If you have panic disorder, you have frequent, unexpected panic attacks. During these episodes, you feel intense fear, frequently brought about by a feared object or situation. These panic attacks can also come on with seemingly no trigger.
When you suffer from panic disorder, you may avoid situations or places to avoid future panic attacks. If left untreated, this type of anxiety disorder could possibly even lead to agoraphobia or the avoidance of ever leaving your home.
During this type of anxiety disorder, you may feel:
- Shaking or trembling
- Rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of impending doom
- Feeling out of control
Social Anxiety Disorder
This type of anxiety disorder is much more common than you may think. If you suffer from a social anxiety disorder, you have a fear of social situations and performances. You may worry you’ll be judged or evaluated harshly by others based on your performance – or simply just because you’re there. Social anxiety causes you to worry about embarrassment, leading you to avoid social activities at all costs. This is especially difficult for those attending school or work.
Symptoms of social anxiety disorder include:
- Intense worry about humiliating yourself
- Fear of interacting with or talking to people you don’t know
- Avoiding participating in activities or speaking to others out of fear of embarrassment
- Anxiety anticipating an event or activity
- Fear or anxiety during social interactions
- Fear of others noticing you are anxious
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- If you suffer from OCD, you feel the frequent need to act on obsessions and compulsions. If you don’t, you feel anxious and irritated. These feelings can interfere with daily life in relationships, at school, and in the workplace.
Like any other mental illness, having OCD is not a choice you make (despite what others may tell you.) The urges and compulsions can feel nearly impossible for you to control, even if you see them as excessive.
The repetitive thoughts, urges, thoughts, and mental images that cause this type of anxiety disorder often include:
- A need to have everything symmetrical or in perfect order
- Fear of germs
- Aggression toward yourself or others
- Unwanted thoughts involving religion, sex, or harm
- Excessive need to clean hands or other things
- Arranging and rearranging things in a precede fashion
- Repeatedly checking on things
- Counting compulsively
- Researching topics or analyzing situations repeatedly
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
When you think of PTSD, you may think of veterans or people who have been victims of an incredibly terrifying and traumatic event.
This is true for some of those who have PTSD.
But if you suffer from this type of anxiety disorder, it could also be due to something that may seem less traumatic to others.
Traumatic events that can cause PTSD include (but are not limited to):
- An affair
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
While PTSD symptoms often start within one month following a traumatic event, they may not show up until years after. Whenever the symptoms of PTSD show up, they can cause some pretty tough difficulties for relationships – both work and personal.
Symptoms of PTSD can include:
- Intrusive memories about a traumatic event
- Difficult dreams or nightmares
- Avoidance of places or activities reminding you of the event
- Negative thinking or mood changes
Related Post: 4 Easy Grounding Techniques for Anxiety
The Best Anxiety Treatment Options
Typically, there are two methods for treating these types of anxiety disorders: medication and psychotherapy. Of course, as with any mental illness, there isn’t a “right way” and a “wrong way” to treat any of these types of anxiety disorders. The best place to start is with a diagnosis from a mental health provider, such as a Psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant or Therapist. Together you can figure out which method or combination of treatments for anxiety disorders is right for you.
Medication for Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Any type of anxiety disorder may be effectively treated through medication. With that said, it’s not always the answer to treating and curing anxiety. Frequently, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or sedatives are prescribed. However, there are side effects and risks to all medicines. Medications are typically most effective when used in conjunction with psychotherapy.
If you think medication might be helpful for you, seek treatment from an experienced Psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant, familiar with anxiety disorders and how to treat them using medication. Finding a provider who is experienced in working alongside therapists is very important, which is one reason why the providers at BOLD Health are so good at helping people with anxiety disorders.
Related Post: How to Find a Therapist to Treat Anxiety
Psychotherapy for Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Therapy for anxiety is a less-invasive way to overcome any of these types of anxiety disorders. The main obstacle for receiving therapy for anxiety is often the negative stigma surrounding mental health. This is the idea that if you have mental health issues, you’re just “crazy,” and spending the time and effort to get help means you’re weak.
On the contrary, mental health is just another part of your body. You see a dentist for your teeth, a general practitioner doctor for your body, but what about your mind?
It’s just as important.
Therapy for anxiety, also known as talk therapy or counseling, is an effective anxiety treatment, whether by itself or in conjunction with medication. There are several types of psychotherapy to help with these types of anxiety disorders, including,
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Exposure Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Interpersonal Therapy
- The therapists at BOLD Health are experts in treating anxiety.
- Count on BOLD Health for Anxiety Disorder Treatments
If you suffer from any of these types of anxiety disorders and live in the San Diego area, reach out to our team of anxiety disorder specialists for help. We offer some of the most innovative and expert care for treating various mental health issues, including our highly effective Intensive Outpatient Program.
Whether you are looking to enroll in a San Diego IOP or you seek guidance in navigating your mental health concerns, we’re happy to help you out.
Don’t let your anxiety disorder define you. Get the help you need from BOLD Health, the leading San Diego IOP and a highly trusted source of mental health care in the region.
Our method is BOLD. Our approach is compassionate.