The 5 Major Anxiety Disorders

Things are tough for a lot of people right now, which has resulted in a noticeable increase of stress and anxiety across the board for humans. But anxiety is also a huge issue for our dogs and well as stress out cats. For those who have pre-existing mood conditions, it can be especially overwhelming, and over 18% of the United States population suffers from an anxiety disorder. Because of the way our brains are wired to cope with stress, various conditions can manifest in different ways, which scientists have classified into several categories. So, what are the 5 major anxiety disorders?

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, affects around 7 million adults in the United States, with cases being twice as common in women than in men. This disorder generally involves constant worry over everyday problems, regardless if there is an actual reason to be concerned. It can be difficult to relax or concentrate, and sufferers may startle easily and experience insomnia as well as headaches and muscle pain.

2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can manifest itself in many different ways, but those who are affected typically experience recurrent and unwanted thoughts, known as obsessions. It is characterized by the repetition of certain tasks such as counting, hand-washing, or cleaning, as these may temporarily alleviate intrusive thoughts.

3. Panic Disorder

People who suffer from panic disorder often have to deal with frequent debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Panic attacks cause a sudden, incredibly intense fear that becomes overwhelming to the point where sufferers believe that they are dying. The symptoms include shortness of breath as well as as feelings of dizziness, heart palpitations, and chest pain.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that is triggered by extremely distressing or disturbing events, like experiencing the death of a loved one, being violently assaulted, military combat, or large disasters. People with PTSD can have trouble regulating their emotions and struggle with feelings of hostility, emptiness, hopelessness, and some may also feel regularly suicidal. Sustained periods of intense trauma may result in what is known as Complex PTSD, which can produce significantly debilitating symptoms such as hallucinations and emotional flashbacks.

5. Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)

While many people may consider themselves shy or introverted, if it is preventing them from accomplishing tasks because it requires interacting with others, it is possible that they have social phobia, or social anxiety disorder. This disorder involves an intense fear of being judged or watched by others, and this will evoke strong feelings of anxiety. People that experience intense social phobia can have a hard time keeping or making friends, and will frequently avoid common situations in which human contact is necessary.

Definition of anxiety disorder

Definition of Anxiety Disorder

A good method for understanding the definition of anxiety disorder is to learn through accredited experts. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it is normal for everyone to experience occasional bouts of anxiety, but these should only be temporary. For those who suffer from anxiety disorders, the anxiety does not go away, but rather increases over time. This can have a profound impact on daily life, including employment, schooling, and personal relationships.

What causes panic attacks

What Causes Panic Attacks?

People who suffer from anxiety disorders may also experience panic attacks, which can be a very terrifying ordeal. Symptoms include the sensation of not being able to breath, or severe chest pain that feels like a heart attack. Someone having a panic attack may also feel a loss of control as well as a sense of unreality. When researchers looked into what causes panic attacks, they discovered a correlation with situations of intense or prolonged stress. While some people might suffer from isolated incidents of panic attacks, having them with regular frequency and without warning can be an indicator of a major anxiety disorder.

natural remedy for anxiety

Natural Remedy for Anxiety

Because intense trauma literally re-writes the way the brain is wired, that is a strong point to focus on for treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is considered a very successful method for treating anxiety because it involves training the brain to think and respond in new ways.

Some people seek help through things like guided imagery or support groups when they are feeling overwhelmed. Others use simple ways to help cope with stress, like exercising, aromatherapy, or a relaxing massage. If you feel like you are having trouble during this time, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out for help. A good source of information can be found here on the NIMH website for resources regarding mental healthcare.