Anxiety has the potential to become a debilitating disorder. Read ahead for a valuable guide on understanding and living with anxiety today.
Anxiety creates positive and negative effects, but the negative effects understandably get the most attention. This is especially true when anxiety becomes a disorder and begins to overpower, interfere with and destroy a person’s life. Anxiety is treatable via many methods, each with a different degree of impact or improvement for each person. If you are suffering from anxiety, it is vital to understand your symptoms and what treatment options are available to help you. Read ahead for a valuable guide on understanding and living with anxiety today.
Anxiety - Understand the Basics Here
Anxiety takes many forms and attacks a person’s life from multiple angles. Some forms of anxiety are mild, while others are severe. When anxiety becomes severe it becomes a disorder with an overpowering and debilitating nature. The three most common types of anxiety include panic disorder (panic attacks), social anxiety and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). All three types cause similar and different problems in people’s lives.
One similar issue is an inability to function normally, which leads to decreased lifestyle quality and even loss or work and income. Panic attacks strike suddenly, often feeling like more serious medical conditions. Social anxiety involves the fear of spending time in public, in rooms filled with people or even attending work-based group events. GAD involves a nearly-constant concern (to the point of outright worry) pursuant to any number of events or scenarios. These might include finances, marital status, employment, health, education, eating or physical appearance. People suffering from GAD are often unable to control their anxiety and worry, leading to feelings of crazymaking and depleted self-esteem. Uncontrollable thoughts and depleted self-esteem only serve to fuel anxiety orders. This in turn creates the perception of a seemingly unbreakable vicious cycle to the victim.
How to Recognize the Different Types of Anxiety (symptoms and causes)
Different types of anxiety are recognizable by the unique symptoms each version of the disorder causes. For example, people suffering from GAD feel anxious or worried during a wide variety of common situations, most of which feel normal to those unafflicted by the disorder. Physical GAD symptoms might include increased or irregular heartbeats, shallow breathing, and sudden bouts of sweating.
Panic attacks share some symptoms with GAD disorders, including rapid or erratic heartbeats, shallow breathing, and sweating. People suffering from panic attacks might also experience chest pain and a perceived inability to breathe. The chest pain might present like a heart attack to the victim, which causes their anxiety to exacerbate. Some panic attacks also involve whole-body tingling sensations or numbness in peripheral body parts. Tingling or numbness might also occur in the face or at various spots around the head. Panic attacks are caused by a wide variety of sources, including emotional pain and stress or anticipation about events, age or responsibilities.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Recognizing social anxiety disorder is not as cut-and-dry as some people might think. Yes, the disorder involves anxiety pursuant to social situations. Extreme cases involve a crippling fear of judgement from other people and an inability to complete daily necessary activities (for example, going to school or work). Some cases of social anxiety disorder are stealthier and go undetected for years. For example, have you always felt uncomfortable in bars, restaurants, clubs, or grocery stores but never understood why? If so, you might have a mild-to-moderate case of social anxiety disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a commonly known disorder. If you have experienced a traumatic event such as war, a car accident, physical or sexual assault or witnessing the death of a loved one you are at risk of suffering from PTSD. Symptoms might include hallucinations or flashbacks to the initial traumatic event. Symptoms might also include…
- An avoidance of any items, people, or places where you might become triggered
- Sudden anger, fear, depression.
- Otherwise, erratic behavior.
Obsessive-Compulsive Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is another commonly known type of anxiety disorder. Symptoms include an overwhelming need to complete specific tasks in an exact order or in the same way every time. When compulsions are not honored as victims feel are necessary, mild to severe anxiety sets in and causes debilitating emotional issues. Some functional OCD sufferers experience anger, irritation or confusion but manage to continue with regular daily activities, sometimes not even knowing they have the disorder.
General Symptoms and Causes
Even though many different types of anxiety exist, some symptoms and causes are common to all types. For example, anxiety creates restlessness, which often makes it hard to sleep. Therefore, fatigue is a common symptom of anxiety regardless of type or cause. The causes of anxiety are as varied as the different types, it not more. For example, people suffering from GAD might be triggered by a car passing by just as easily as the could from a stressful phone call. Any type of loud, sudden noises might trigger symptoms in a person suffering from PTSD, including survivors of wartime activities and sexual assault alike. Certain people also have a genetic predisposition for anxiety, which is passed down from one familial generation to the next. Additional general symptoms of anxiety include:
- Loss of concentration.
- Physical weakness.
- Shaking limbs or extremities.
- Nausea and digestive issues.
- Hot or cold flushes.
- Thoughts of self-harm.
- Thoughts of harming others.
Overview of Suggested Anxiety Treatments (and average costs)
Fortunately, most types of anxiety are highly treatable. The most common types of treatments for anxiety include medication, therapy, group support systems and natural dietary and lifestyle changes. Medication prices range between under $10 to $400 and more per prescription. Most insurances cover mental health services and your prescription plan might pay for some or all the costs. Anxiety counseling might cost $100 or more per session, but again, many insurances cover some or all the expenses (including Medicare and Medicaid). Local support groups are often available for free. Lifestyle changes such as dietary or exercise changes and meditation range in price from free through to whatever each new item costs when purchased.
Tips for Recognizing an Anxiety Attack (and how to live with this disorder)
Panic attacks often feel like heart attacks or strokes to the victims. If you feel like you cannot breathe but are capable of vocally stating you cannot breathe, you might be having a panic attack. Try swallowing a sip of water to reassure yourself you can breathe again. Focus on something positive and reach out to a support partner. Take focused, deep breaths as slowly as possible. Know the situation will pass and your symptoms will dissipate. Learning to live with panic attacks is challenging but possible. If you feel you are in danger, call 911 or the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).