Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by scottkandh
Yesterday I wrote a post called Part 1 – 3 Things to Remember When You Are Anxious.
To more fully dwell into understanding anxiety, it’s necessary to learn about the different types of anxiety disorders. Therefore, this post is just that – Understanding Anxiety Disorders.
Here is a list of the 10-part series. Links without hyperlinks obviously haven’t been written yet. I estimate that the whole series should be done in a few weeks or so, therefore the target date to get all of these done is September 1st, 2021. That will still allow me to enjoy the summer and provide you with quality posts on this topic of anxiety that is so close and personal to me.
Part 1 – 3 Things to Remember When You Are Anxious
Part 2 – Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Part 3 – Understanding Panic Attacks
Part 4 – Talking About Anxiety
Part 5 – The Ultimate Guide to Living (Well) With Anxiety
Part 6 – For the Christian With Anxiety
Part 7 – Anxiety and Diet
Part 8 – Natural Supplements for Anxiety
Part 9 – What can Exercise do for Anxiety
Part 10 – Diabetes and Anxiety
Part 2 – Understanding Anxiety Disorders
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Understanding an Anxiety Disorder
With anxiety disorders it’s quite common for someone to make a mountain out of a mole-hill.
Let me begin by saying that I’m not a doctor and I don’t have any specialized training in the area of mental illness. To learn more about that, contact your primary care doctor.
While in grad school I once took a class that talked about reframing and how we perceive things. The focus on the class was reframing as it pertained to leadership but looking back on that class you can also use it to look at yourself.
For the next few topics, we are going to put anxiety disorders under the lens and take a close look at them.
A few facts about Anxiety Disorders
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are five (5) major types of anxiety disorders:
The five “major” types of anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
- Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
- Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation – such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others – or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
The causes for an anxiety disorder can stem from many different causes:
- A traumatic event,
- Postpartum (or hormonal changes)
- Chemical imbalances
- Drug and alcohol use (some say caffeine use)
- Any combination of the above.
The good news to know about anxiety is that doctors say that anxiety disorders are treatable.
There’s a good article called: Beyond worry: How psychologists help with anxiety disorders from the American Psychological Association.
“Anxiety disorders can severely impair a person’s ability to function at work, school, and in social situations and can interfere with a person’s relationships.”
Below in a nutshell is an explanation of how anxiety in people without an anxiety disorder differs from people suffering with an anxiety disorder.
“Everyone worries or feels nervous from time to time. Anxiety is a normal human reaction to stressful situations. But for people with anxiety disorders, those fears and worries aren’t temporary. Their anxiety persists, and can even get worse over time.” – American Psychological Association.
“It’s important to note that anxiety is not a disorder. If you are going through something in your life that is emotionally traumatic or if you are in physical danger, anxiety is a normal response. It [anxiety] becomes a disorder when it is occurring out of proportion to the actual threat or danger and when it begins to interfere with normal daily functioning.
It’s also important to realize that people with anxiety disorder generally know that their fear and distress is irrational. Telling them they are being irrational won’t usually help.”
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
|Lack of focus||Insomnia||Confusion|
|Have no energy||Get sick easily||Emotional inbalance|
|Nervousness||Lack of appetite||Forgetfulness|
|Fidgety||Heart racing||Panic attacks|
|Ringing in the ears|
This list is not entirely exclusive, and the list can go on and on because a panic attack can take on many different forms. “You need not have all the symptoms. A combination of two or three of these symptoms experienced regularly is an indication of anxiety that needs attention.”
Anxiety is quite common. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America these are the statistics by the numbers:
In my next post: Part 3 – Understanding Panic Attacks – I’ll be looking at panic attacks.
If you have a child and they are suffering from anxiety, it’s my hope that after reading this post, you’ll turn to a program called Turnaround to help defeat Child Anxiety.