Anxiety Therapy

The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders: A Guide

Anxiety disorders are a very prevalent issue in society today.

They can affect anyone, regardless of age or social status.

Anxiety is the most common mental health diagnosis, and about one-third of adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to correctly identify the different types of anxiety disorders because they all cause similar symptoms and have various treatments.

This article will guide you through the different types of anxiety disorders to better understand what it feels like to be afflicted with this debilitating condition!

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Overview

Generalised anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that causes excessive worry and tension, even if there’s little or nothing to provoke it.

It can be hard to know what might trigger an episode of generalised anxiety disorder. Some people with the condition find themselves worrying about being in situations where they feel trapped or helpless.

Others may constantly fret over their finances, relationships, health, or other issues. In some cases, these worries intensify until the person finds it difficult to function normally on a daily basis.

GAD is a long-term condition that causes an individual to feel anxious in broad, often unclear contexts.

Those diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can feel high levels of stress many days per week and may struggle to remember when they last felt relaxed.

Symptoms In Children And Teenagers

Children and teenagers may share some of the same worries as adults, but their minds are far more open to new thoughts – they are often worried about:

  • How they perform at school or in social events.
  • The safety of people close to them.
  • Punctuality.
  • Catastrophic circumstances beyond their control, e.g. nuclear war, earthquakes.

A child or teen with extreme worry may:

  • Feel anxious about fitting in.
  • Lack self-confidence.
  • Strive for approval at all costs.
  • Require a lot of reassurance about performance.
  • Have frequent stomachaches or other physical complaints.
  • Avoid school or avoid social settings.

Risk Factors of Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Women are diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder more than men. Factors that contribute to a diagnosis of generalised anxiety include:

  • Personality. For those with a shy personality or cautious about their safety, generalised anxiety disorder is more likely to manifest.
  • Genetics. Generalised anxiety disorder may run in families.
  • Experiences. People with generalised anxiety disorders tend to have a history of significant life changes, traumatic or damaging experiences during childhood, or recent trauma. Chronic medical illnesses or other mental health disorders may increase risk.

What Can You Do About Generalised Anxiety Disorder Now?

The good news is there’s hope for people who suffer from GAD because there are effective treatments available. By taking our online course, you can learn about your treatment options and start feeling better today!

Learn more about GAD here.

What Are Phobias

Overview

Phobias can be a real problem for the person suffering from them. Phobias are an irrational fear of a particular situation, thing, or place. They are irrational, persistent, and often debilitating.

They are often broken down into two categories, Simple Phobias and Complex Phobias.

The first type is called a “simple phobia”, which is when an individual experiences excessive anxiety or panic in response to an object or situation that does not pose a real threat.

A simple phobic may not enter a room with spiders even though they know they pose no danger, for instance.

Simple phobias include

  • Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
  • Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces)
  • Acrophobia (fear of heights).

The two most common complex phobias are:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Social phobia

Phobias are not usually formally diagnosed. Most people with a phobia are fully aware of the problem.

A person will sometimes choose to live with a phobia, taking great care to avoid the object or situation they’re afraid of.

But if you have a phobia, continually trying to avoid what you’re afraid of will make the situation worse.

Symptoms of Phobia's

No matter what specific phobia you have, it’s likely to produce these types of reactions:

  • When you’re exposed to or think about the source of your fear, an immediate feeling of intense anxiety and panic occurs.

  • When you are aware that your fears are unrealistic or exaggerated but can’t control them.

  • Avoidance of situations or objects that make you anxious, even if they may at some point help alleviate your anxiety.

  • Because anxious feelings are unpleasant, we often avoid what triggers them or endure them with intense anxiety or fear.

  • Feeling like you can’t function normally because of your fear.

  • Common symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks include sweating, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and a tight chest.

  • In children crying, refusing to leave or clinging on to a parent’s side.

Risk Factors

These factors may increase your risk of specific phobias:

  • Your age. Specific phobias can first appear in childhood, usually by age 10, but can occur later in life.

  • Your relatives. If someone in your family suffers from a specific phobia or anxiety, it increases the odds that you’ll also develop these conditions. This could be inherited, or children who observe a family member’s phobic reactions to an object or situation may learn to fear that same object or situation themselves.

  • Your temperament. If you have a more sensitive, inhibited personality or are more negative than the norm, you may be at greater risk.

  • A negative experience. People who have experienced a frightening, traumatic event such as being attacked by an animal may develop specific phobias.

  • Learning about negative experiences. Receiving negative information or experiencing a traumatic event, such as terrorist attacks, can lead to anxiety phobia.

What You Can Do About Phobias Now

Piece of mind provides a simple way to help people cope better with their phobia by giving actionable advice on managing it and getting over it gradually without confronting the source of fear right away.

It offers an alternative approach that doesn’t require you to face your fears head-on but still helps you overcome them step by step using proven methods and techniques developed specifically for each type of phobia out there.

Help with phobias

Agoraphobia

Overview of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a debilitating condition that causes sufferers to avoid public places. It’s one of the most common anxiety disorders, but it can also be one of the hardest to treat.

Individuals with agoraphobia often have panic attacks when they are in the area that triggers anxiety, such as supermarkets or busy streets. Stairs and crowds can also trigger anxiety.

The result can be an inability to participate fully in life’s activities or even go outside since anxiety often persists even when someone is at home.

Agoraphobia, also known as anxiety disorder, is a fear of public spaces or open areas. There are two different types of agoraphobia

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

Typical agoraphobia symptoms include fear of:

  • Leaving Home by Yourself.

  • Waiting in lines or crowded places.

  • Enclosed spaces, such as movie theatres, elevators or small stores.

  • Large open expanses, such as parking lots or shopping centres.

  • Navigating public transportation (such as a bus, plane or train)

These situations trigger anxiety because you fear not escaping a bad situation or finding help if you start feeling panicked or have other disabling symptoms.

Also:

  • Anxiety almost always arises when you are aware a fear-inducing situation is coming.

  • Your fears or anxiety level is disproportionate to the actual presence of danger.

  • You avoid, need a friend to go with you, or endure the situation but are highly agitated.

  • Work and social situations can be particularly stressful because of anxiety, avoidance and fear.

  • You’re experiencing a phobia for an extended period, usually six months or longer.

Risk Factors of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a disorder that usually begins in the late teenage years or early adulthood, before age 35. Older adults can also develop it. Women are diagnosed with agoraphobia in higher numbers than males.

Risk factors for agoraphobia include:

  • An existing panic disorder or other phobias.

  • Stressful life experiences, such as being attacked or the death of a loved one.

  • Having a nervous or anxious disposition.

  • Having a relative with agoraphobia.

What You Can Do About Agoraphobia Now

Agoraphobia is a severe and debilitating condition that causes sufferers to become so anxious in certain situations that they no longer feel safe leaving their homes.

Many people are afraid of agoraphobia, but it is also one of the most common phobias on the planet. It can affect anyone from any walk of life at any time. The good news is you don’t have to live with this fear forever!

There are many things you can do about agoraphobia today.

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Overview

Like with any anxiety, people with social anxiety disorder have a lifetime of abnormal negative thought patterns that they repeat to themselves, like self-fulfilling prophecies. Thoughts such as “I can’t do this” or “He’s bound to reject me,” for example, lead down a path of thoughts that deepen the belief.

Social anxiety disorder is characterised by intense fear and avoidance of social situations due to concerns about embarrassment or worries about being judged.

Without actively working against thoughts like these, you may remain trapped and paralysed by their message.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Shyness or discomfort in certain situations is not always indicative of social anxiety disorder, though they may be common for children due to personality traits and life experiences. Some people experience heightened levels of shyness depending on their personalities.

Unlike regular nervousness, social anxiety has intense fear and avoidance that interferes with relationships, routines, work/school. Ordinarily, it begins in the early to mid-teens; however, sometimes, children or adults suffer from this disorder too.

Emotional and behavioural symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include constant:

  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged negatively.

  • Worry about embarrassing or humiliating yourself.

  • Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers.

  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious.

  • Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice.

  • Avoidance of doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment.

  • Avoidance of situations where you might be the centre of attention.

  • Anxiety is the anticipation of a feared activity or event.

  • Intense fear or anxiety during social situations.

  • Analysis of your performance and identification of flaws in your interactions after a social situation.

  • The expectation of the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation

For children, anxiety about interacting with adults or peers may be shown by crying, having temper tantrums, clinging to parents or refusing to speak in social situations.

Performance type of social anxiety disorder is when you experience intense fear and anxiety during speaking or performing in public but not in other types of more general social situations.

Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Physical signs and symptoms can sometimes accompany social anxiety disorder and may include:

  • Blushing.

  • Fast heartbeat.

  • Trembling.

  • Sweating.

  • Upset stomach or nausea.

  • Trouble catching your breath.

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

  • Feeling that your mind has gone blank.

  • Muscle tension.

Avoiding Common Social Situations

Ordinary, everyday experiences may be hard to endure when you have a social anxiety disorder, including:

  • Interacting with unfamiliar people or strangers.

  • Attending parties or social gatherings.

  • Going to work or school.

  • Starting conversations.

  • Making eye contact.

  • Dating.

  • Entering a room in which people are already seated.

  • Returning items to a store.

  • Eating in front of others.

  • Using a public restroom.

Social anxiety disorder symptoms change over time. The severity of symptoms may fluctuate based on what’s happening in your life.

You may experience an increase in symptoms if you’re facing many changes, stress or demands. Although avoiding this can help you feel better in the short term, your social anxiety is likely to continue without treatment over the long term.

Risk Factors of Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Factors that lead to an increased risk of developing a social anxiety disorder are:

  • Family history. It’s more likely that if your parent or sibling has a social anxiety disorder, you will too.

  • Negative experiences. Youngsters who experience bullying, rejection or ridicule may be more susceptible to social anxiety. In addition, other adverse events in life, such as trauma or family conflict, may be associated with this disorder.

  • Temperament. Children who are shy, timid, withdrawn or restrained when facing new situations or people may be at greater risk.

  • New social or work demands. The symptoms of social anxiety disorder typically start in the teenage years. However, meeting new people, giving a speech in public or making an important work presentation may trigger symptoms for the first time.

What Can You Do About Social Anxiety Disorder Now?

In most cases, individuals with this condition misinterpret the actions of others. They fear that others apply a negative meaning to what they do and say, so they develop an intense fear of embarrassing themselves or doing something foolish in public.

The treatment for social anxiety disorder varies depending on the severity of the condition. Find out more here.

For help with social anxiety disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterised by unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviours (compulsions).

Sufferers of OCD may focus on the minutiae of everyday life to an excessive degree (e.g., washing your hands in excess or organising your belongings-taking longer than is necessary to complete these tasks), leading to significant distress and anxiety. Still, some sufferers find that such behaviour serves as a distraction from obsessive thoughts.

Ultimately, you feel compelled to perform compulsive actions to ease your stress.

Despite efforts to avoid or eliminate unpleasant thoughts or urges, they persist, leading to more ritualistic behaviour.

Overview of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterised by unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviours (compulsions).

Sufferers of OCD may focus on the minutiae of everyday life to an excessive degree (e.g., washing your hands in excess or organising your belongings-taking longer than is necessary to complete these tasks), leading to significant distress and anxiety. Still, some sufferers find that such behaviour serves as a distraction from obsessive thoughts.

Ultimately, you feel compelled to perform compulsive actions to ease your stress.

Despite efforts to avoid or eliminate unpleasant thoughts or urges, they persist, leading to more ritualistic behaviour.

Symptoms For OCD Fall Under Two Categories

Obsession Symptoms

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness that causes unwanted thoughts and behaviours. The most common symptom of OCD is continuous repetitive thoughts, urges, or images that cause distress and result in compulsive behaviour.

Obsessions often have themes to them, such as:

  • Fear of dirt or being contaminated.

  • Doubting and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty.

  • Requiring things to be symmetrical or in an orderly fashion.

  • Unwanted thoughts or thoughts of losing control.


Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:

  • Fear of being contaminated by touching objects others have touched.

  • Worry about forgetting to lock the door or switching off the stove.

  • If clothing or items are lined up a certain way, strict rules have to be followed.

  • Acting inappropriately or shouting obscenities in public.

  • Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions

Compulsions Symptoms

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviours that you feel driven to perform. These repetitive behaviours or mental acts are meant to reduce anxiety related to your obsessions or prevent something bad from happening. However, engaging in the compulsions brings no pleasure and may offer only temporary relief from tension.

You may make up rules or rituals to follow that help control your anxiety when you’re having obsessive thoughts. These compulsions appear to have no relationship–at least on the surface–to any guilt or fear felt by the person.

As with obsessions, compulsions typically have themes, such as:

  • Washing and cleaning.

  • Checking and or counting.

  • Adherence to a strict routine.

  • Always needing reassurance.

Examples of compulsion signs and symptoms include:

  • Washing your hands until your skin becomes sore.

  • Constantly checking doors to make sure they’re secure.

  • Constantly checking the stove to make sure it’s off.

  • Counting in specific patterns, three’s, for example.
    Focusing on a word, phrase or prayer.

Risk Factors of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Factors that may increase the risk of developing or triggering obsessive-compulsive disorder include:

  • Family history. Having family members or parents with OCD can lead to an increased risk of developing the disorder.

  • Stressful life events. People who have experienced a traumatic or distressing event are more likely to develop OCD. This type of disorder, for some reason, could trigger the intrusive thoughts and emotions characteristic of OCD.

  • Other mental health disorders. OCD may be related to other mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression or tic disorders.

What You Can Do About Obsessive-compulsive Disorder Now

OCD symptoms are often misunderstood as personal flaws, leading many people with the condition to feel isolated and alone.

The truth is that OCD is a highly treatable mental illness.

PTSD can affect anyone, even if they weren’t directly involved in the trauma. It’s estimated that around 7% of people will get PTSD at some point in their lives, and it’s common for symptoms to appear months or years after the initial event happened.

If you are suffering from PTSD, there is help available right now! We’ll walk you through all the options available to treat you so that you can live your best life again.

Find out how therapy can help you deal with OCD.

Panic Attacks (Panic Disorder)

Overview of Panic attacks (Panic Disorder)​

A panic attack is a rush of fear that leads to extreme physical reactions when it isn’t actually dangerous or an apparent cause. When panic attacks occur, they can be confusing and terrifying.

You might worry you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying. You are not alone – experience has taught us that others feel the same way when they have a panic attack.

Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you’ve had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.

Symptoms of Panic Attacks (Panic Disorder)

Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without warning. They can strike at any time, you may have occasional panic attacks, or they may occur frequently.

Panic attacks come in many different ways, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. You may feel exhausted and worn out after a panic attack subsides.

Panic attacks typically include some of these signs or symptoms:

  • An overwhelming feeling of doom or danger.

  • Intense dread of losing control and or death.

  • A rapid, pounding heart rate.

  • Sweating, trembling or shaking.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Chest pain.

  • Headache.

  • Lightheadedness and feeling faint.

  • A feeling of unreality or detachment

One of the most challenging aspects of panic attacks is that you may fear them so much, you will go out of your way to avoid any circumstance where they could happen.

Risk Factors of Panic Attacks

Factors that may increase the risk of developing panic attacks or panic disorder include:

  • Family history – panic attacks or panic disorders run in the family.

  • Significant life stress – such as the death or severe illness of a loved one.

  • A traumatic event – such as sexual assault or a severe accident.

  • Substantial changes in your life – such as a divorce or the addition of a baby.

  • Smoking or excessive caffeine intake

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Overview of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder sometimes referred to as PTSD, is a mental health condition that may develop after a person has been exposed to one or more traumatic events.

Those experiencing PTSD may re-experience the event in nightmares or flashbacks, avoid stimuli associated with the trauma and feel increased anxiety or distress.

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your typical daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms may vary over time.

Intrusive Memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event.

  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks).

  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event.

  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event.

  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event.

Negative Changes In Thinking And Mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world.

  • Hopelessness about the future.

  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event.

  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships.

  • Feeling detached from family and friends.

  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions.

  • Feeling emotionally numb.

Changes In Your Physical And Emotional Reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened.

  • Always being on guard for danger.

  • Self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking too much or driving too fast.

  • Trouble sleeping.

  • Trouble concentrating.

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behaviour.

  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

Risk Factors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect people of all ages. However, some factors may make you more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event, such as:

  • Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma.

  • Having experienced other trauma earlier in life.

  • Having a job increases your risk of being exposed to traumatic events, such as military personnel and emergency services.

  • Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.

  • Having problems with substance misuse, such as excess drinking or drug use.

  • Lacking a sound support system of family and friends.
    Having blood relatives with mental health problems, including anxiety or depression.

Kinds Of Traumatic Events

The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include:

  • Combat exposure.

  • Childhood physical abuse.

  • Sexual violence.

  • Physical assault.

  • Being threatened with a weapon.

  • An accident.

What You Can Do About Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Now

If you think you might have PTSD, it’s vital to get help right away because this condition is treatable.

Many people who have PTSD never seek treatment for their condition.

They’re afraid talking about what happened will make them relive the trauma all over again and make things worse than before they started along the path seeking help for their symptoms.

The truth is that by seeking help, people living with post-traumatic stress disorder can begin to recover and live a normal life again. But only if they take the first step in getting help for their condition.

PTSD affects millions of people every year, but it’s still not talked about enough in society today.

Does Neuro Linguistic Programming work for PTSD?

Selective mutism

Overview of Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is a severe anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or with relatives they do not see very often.
It usually starts during childhood and, if left untreated, can persist into adulthood.

A child or adult with selective mutism does not refuse or choose not to speak at certain times; they’re literally unable to speak.

The expectation to talk to certain people triggers a freeze response with feelings of panic, like a bad case of stage fright, and talking is impossible.

In time, the person will learn to anticipate the situations that provoke this distressing reaction and do all they can to avoid them.

However, people with selective mutism can speak freely to certain people, such as close family and friends, when nobody else is around to trigger the freeze response.

Symptoms of Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is diagnosed according to specific guidelines. These include observations about the person concerned as outlined:

  • They do not speak in particular situations, such as during school lessons or when they can be overheard in public.

  • They can generally talk in cases where they feel comfortable, such as when they’re alone with parents at home or in their empty classroom or bedroom.

  • Their inability to speak to certain people has lasted for at least one month (2 months in a new setting).

  • Their inability to speak interferes with their ability to function in that setting.

  • Their failure to communicate is not better explained by another behavioural, mental or communication disorder.

Risk Factors of Selective Mutism

The children of parents with anxiety disorders are at an increased risk for developing the same condition, and your child may be more likely to display selective mutism if other family members have experienced it.

Gey help with selective mutism.

Summing Up

This list is not exhaustive.

If you feel that what you’re experiencing hasn’t been covered here and you want to talk to someone. Please do reach out.

  • Schedule a call
  • Send a message

Anxiety may have a biological cause, such as an imbalance between serotonin or another chemical that affects moods for example. It could also be caused by other factors like stress or underlying anxiety disorders. People should be aware that feeling anxious is a common feeling and not something to worry about too much, as it can often go away by itself with time or some self-help techniques. Some people may experience anxiety more than others, but everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. For example, anxiety can help people react quickly and think clearly during an emergency situation. Some anxiety is normal because anxiety pushes us to react quickly when we are faced with dangerous situations. However, anxiety should never be ignored if the feeling persists for longer than expected or starts to take over your life. Anxiety usually goes away by itself but it may also benefit from some self-help techniques like deep breathing exercises and meditation. If you notice a change in moods or behaviour then talk to a professional who will work with you on finding the right treatment plan for anxiety relief. Anxiety often disappears after some time without any kind of intervention needed; however, there are many effective ways to treat anxiety naturally at home (link Beating Anxiety -The benefit of a routine)
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