What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a medical condition where a person has worries that are persistent and sometimes come out of the blue. There are many types of anxiety and anxiety disorders. Anxiety is a common condition, and if you have anxiety, don’t be afraid because many people suffer from it, and you can get help. The worst feeling is when you’re convinced that you’re alone in your mental health issues, but anxiety disorders are prevalent. Here are some different types of anxiety and anxiety disorders. In this section, you will read about common anxiety disorders and issues that affect your relationship when you or your partner have anxiety.
Generalized Anxiety or GAD
When you suffer from GAD, you feel a pervasive sense of worry. You are ruminating about things for many days. To suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you need to have these symptoms for six months or longer. It feels like a looming sense that something’s not right when you have GAD, living with an anxiety disorder can make you feel like you’re constantly out of control. Your adrenaline is running high in a way that is uncomfortable and can cloud your thinking. Imagine that you’re driving a car and there aren’t any brakes. That is the feeling someone has when they experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
A phobia is an intense and highly specific fear. Sometimes, phobias have trauma involved. For example, let’s say that you had a car accident and now experience a pervasive fear of getting in a car because you’re worried that you’ll get in a crash. This fear prevents you from doing things that you’d like to be able to do, like to drive yourself to work or school. That is a phobia affiliated with trauma.
On the other hand, some phobias develop without any pointed reason or trauma. Phobias are an anxiety disorder. You may have heard of common phobias like arachnophobia or claustrophobia. People are afraid of different things, and if the symptoms of this anxiety disorder are causing you significant distress, it’s essential to seek the help of a mental health provider.
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder where someone has physical and mental symptoms that seemingly come out of the blue. When experiencing a panic attack, you could experience a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, racing thoughts, or sweating. When you have a panic attack, you might feel like you’re dying or having a heart attack and experience symptoms that lead to a genuine worry that this is happening. That’s how terrifying living with panic disorder can be. To have panic disorder, you need to be experiencing these attacks for more than a month. Panic disorder can overlap with symptoms of PTSD or other diagnoses. You might have panic attacks because you’re triggered by something from your past. There are panic attacks that also result in symptoms that are pervasive in anxiety disorders such as OCD or GAD.
Social anxiety is when you’re afraid that you’ll do something embarrassing when you’re with a group of people. You might be fearful of being around others because you are concerned that they won’t like you, or you’re afraid of being awkward. Alternatively, it might cause you anxiety to be in the presence of others, and you aren’t sure why. You might have a fear of public speaking or having to eat in a public place. Maybe, you’re afraid that you can’t make small talk or can’t even think of the words you want to say when you’re around other people. Social anxiety can be extremely detrimental to your mental health and can impact your life dramatically if left untreated.
The universal nature of anxiety disorders
As mentioned above, anxiety disorders are considered extremely common. For example, 2% of the population in the United States have GAD, and between 7-9% have specific phobias. It ends up being millions of people. Statistics show that women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men. It’s important to note that being afraid is a natural response to a perceived threat and that someone with an anxiety disorder experiences their symptoms in a way that is extremely real. Whether it’s you, your partner, or someone else that’s suffering from an anxiety disorder or is concerned that they might be living with one of the anxiety disorders mentioned above, remember that anxiety is a manageable condition. Help for anxiety is available and obtainable in a variety of ways.
You can get help for anxiety from a mental health provider online or in your local area. If you’re interested in online counseling, whether that’s individual counseling or couples counseling, you can search the network of counselors at Regain and find someone that works for you. Living with anxiety can be hard, but there is hope, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help.