Anxiety Disorder: What does it mean?
The term anxiety disorder collectively signifies several kinds of general mental disorder accompanied by uneasiness, worrying, fear, apprehension and cogitation about future doubts that can be either real or imaginary. Anxiety disorders typically affect both the psychological and physical health of the person. Anxiety disorders are quite from the usual feelings of nervousness. If people go untreated then the symptoms can get increasingly worse. People suffering from anxiety disorders experience depression and may also get addicted to drugs and alcohol in order to get relief from those symptoms. Due to anxiety disorders personal life, job performance or school life can suffer and be majorly affected in a negative way.
Classification of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can be any one of the following types:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Also known as GAD, is a normal, persistent disorder accompanied with continuing anxiety which is not due to a single situation or object. People affected by this disorder become overly cautious and start worrying and fearing with almost every matter. This disorder is characterized by the symptoms like problems in concentration, restlessness, irritability, disturbance in sleep, fatigue and muscle tension. Older people are the ones who are commonly affected with this disorder. GAD is diagnosed only when the problem of excessive worrying persists for at least six months in a person. An affected person may find it difficult to remember commitments and make daily decisions due to shortage of concentration. Before diagnosis of this disorder is done, physicians must make sure that the anxiety is not caused by drugs or other medical issues.
Panic Disorder – This disorder causes the affected person to experience short attacks of apprehension and intense terror accompanied by nausea, confusion, dizziness, shaking, trembling and problems with breathing. These attacks are actually discomfort or fear that abruptly increases within ten minutes and can continue for many hours. The attacks are usually triggered by fear, stress or exercise. Often normal heartbeat changes force a panic sufferer to think that their heart is not well or they will experience more panic attacks thus increasing the symptoms.
Phobic Disorders – This is the largest category of anxiety disorders and includes all the cases where a certain type of situation or stimulus triggers fear and anxiety. About 5%-12% of the world’s population is affected by phobic disorders. The affected people think about terrifying consequences when they encounter the object of fear. The affected people get besieged by the fear and can literally put in to a terrified frozen hypnotic state.
Agoraphobia – This is a kind of anxiety which is experienced by a sufferer when placed in a situation where getaway is not possible or embarrassing. This disorder is strongly related to panic disorder and triggered by the thought of a possible panic attacks. A normal symptom of this type of disorder is constantly looking for an escape route or exit door. Avoidance behaviors are also seen in the sufferers of this type of disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder – This disorder is also known as SAD or social phobia. It is a fear and evasion of public embarrassment, social interaction, negative public scrutiny, or humiliation. This fear is observed in the sufferers particularly during social situations or social interactions. Some common symptoms of social anxiety are difficulty in speaking, blushing and sweating. People suffering from this disorder try to avoid the cause of their anxiety. It is observed that in severe cases the affected person may even become socially isolated.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – This is also known as OCD. It is a kind of disorder which is accompanied by repetitive compulsions and obsessions. About 3% of the world’s population is affected by this kind of disorder. Superstitions are closely linked to the thought pattern of OCD. In most cases, compulsion is totally incomprehensible, a push for a ritual caused by nervousness. In minor cases, people affected by OCD may only get obsessions but no compulsions.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – This disorder is also known as PTSD and it is generally caused by traumatic experiences. The stress occurs due to extreme situations like child abuse, rape, hostage situations, a serious accident, combat, bullying, or a natural disaster. This disorder can also be caused by persistent exposure to severe stress. Usual symptoms of this disorder are anger, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, hyper vigilance, and avoidance behaviors. PTSD sufferers undergo psychotherapy and CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy as means of treatment.