Thursday, 23 May 2013

What are Anxiety Disorders ?

Many people everywhere are affected by anxiety and anxiety disorders. While anxiety refers to general feelings of nervousness, fear, and helplessness, anxiety disorders are the very particular, debilitating manifestations of anxiety. 

Feeling a certain level of anxiety in appropriate situations is normal and there are ways with which people can deal with anxiety.  
Nonetheless, they are crippling and intense, giving those who suffer from them overwhelming feelings of fear and worry, often interfering with a person’s ability to live a happy, productive life. 

With forty million American adults ages 18 above struggling with anxiety disorders each year, much research has been done in order to learn more about these . 

There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders, but all of which are characterized by intense feelings of dread and irrational levels of fear. 

Some people also report having nightmares or flashbacks to traumatic events, sleeping problems, uncontrollable thoughts, dizziness, dryness of the mouth, and tension in the muscles .

Let’s look at some of the more commonly recognized anxiety disorders:

Panic Disorder

Those afflicted with panic disorder feel a constant sense of terror. Physically, panic disorder is characterized by sweating, heart palpitations,  and a choking sensation.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

For those afflicted with OCD, the overwhelming feelings of fear and nervousness lead people to tie themselves down to very strict routines and regimens. They do this to try and ward off anxiety and thus return to them a sense of control. 

These unsettling thoughts are known as obsessions, and the ritualistic measures that are borne from them are referred to as compulsions. 

Those with OCD are often paralyzed by their regimen and are unable to lead normal, productive lives. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

PTSD occurs after a person has experienced a traumatic, horrifying incident, like physical assault, sexual offense, the tragic passing of a beloved, natural disaster, and war.  

Recollections of the experience will constantly instill in a person an intense and overwhelming fear. In response to this, those with PTSD choose to shut themselves off and remain emotionally numb .

Social Anxiety Disorder

Also known as social phobia, people with this kind of anxiety disorder are extremely anxious and excessively self-conscious when it comes to the social interactions of everyday life. 

They have an irrational apprehension of being watched or judged, and are often paralyzed by the thought of being embarrassed in a public scenario. 

This anxiety eats away at them for days and weeks, causing them to miss ordinary activities like going to school or work, and prevents them from making and keeping friends. 

Specific Phobias

A phobia is defined as an irrational dread of a particular entity or condition. Phobias can concern anything, from snakes to planes to heights to clowns. 

The intensity of fear felt is not appropriate to the given scenario, but those with phobias are often prisoners to their fear, causing them to avoid everyday situations as not to encounter whatever it is that they fear. 

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

As the name implies, General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, involves an unrealistic, excessive amount of anxiety in everyday life. Those with GAD feel worry and fear for no apparent reason .

If you or anyone you know exhibits these symptoms, the best course of action is to seek help right away. Anxiety disorders may be crippling, but they are not insurmountable. 


Photo Credits:

“Cold room” by CaseyDavid/Flickr 
"Pills” by  e-MagineArt/Flickr
“Alone” by  Lee J Haywood/Flickr

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