Anxiety Disorders – Distinguishing the Types of Disorders

People suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders, each with their own set of symptoms and recommended treatments. These disorders are clustered on a spectrum of overall anxiety, with some that affect the overall quality of life and others that are very specific. At one end of the spectrum is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Individuals who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder will experience a overall tensions or anxiety that with their ability to lead a normal life. Even the smallest things incite low levels of anxiety, even when there is no apparent reason or this worry or stress. People with this disorder worry about all aspects of their life – money, family, work, their health and the health of family and friends.

Those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are often exhausted and cranky, since they are unable to relax. Also, they usually experience other mental health disorders, such as depression and substance abuse.

Another type of anxiety disorder is a panic disorder.

People who suffer from a panic disorder will have frequent panic attacks that cause them to have an overwhelming and unnatural fear that they are in some type of danger.

During a panic attack these people may experience certain types of phobias that include a specific phobia to a certain condition, social phobia, or agoraphobia. All of these phobias are an unnatural, uncontrollable, and most times unstoppable fear of a certain situation, object, or action. People that have this type of anxiety disorder will go to any length to avoid the source of their phobia.

People affected by social phobias will go to any extreme to avoid a social situation – usually because they fear it may trigger a panic attack. These social situations include meeting new people, speaking in public, or even being at a busy place where they are expected to interact. Agoraphobia is a fear of being in an embarrassing situation or a fear of being unable to escape a situation. In the extreme case, an agoraphobic will be fearful of leaving their home, the home is the only place they feel safe. A person with anxiety disorder sometimes develops a specific phobia around an object or thing, such as a fear of spiders, snakes or dogs.

They may even realize their fear in unfounded but still are unable to deal with the feeling of their fear.

Yet another anxiety disorder is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Symptoms include having irrational thoughts that cause the person great anxiety. They obsess about things such as germs and constantly wash their hands. Or they may check the stove over and over in fear of having left it on. These people also know that they are acting in irrational ways, but without medication or other medical attention, they will be unable to stop behaviors.

People suffering from OCD will often develop rituals that they carry out in a compulsive manner. Many times these compulsive rituals will take the person over an hour or two to complete each day creating a great deal of upheaval in their life.

Any type of anxiety can cause and individual to feel great distress. However, proper treatment and management of the symptoms are available. If you are someone you love suffers from anxiety, don’t be afraid to consult with a professional, such as a doctor, psychologist or therapist.

Helen Peters is the webmaster for Free Anxiety, the web’s premier resource for information about For more articles on Anxiety visit:

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