Worrying from time to time is part of the human experience. Often times, we tend to worry about personal expenses, did the kids get to school on time, “Oh no, what is my brother- in-law’s name.” things of that manner. But sometimes, for some people, worrying begins to take on a life of it’s own. It tends to slowly consume parts of you that are in charge of your happiness. Sometimes, it can even cause physical symptoms. These fears have become anxiety.
Anxiety, by definition, refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry. There are several types of anxiety, but we will only talk about a few in this post. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor, and don’t claim to be. If you feel you have experienced any of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to seek professional help.
1.) Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety disorder, also known as GAD, is a disorder characterized by chronic anxiety. People experiencing GAD have 6 months or more of chronic, exaggerated worry and tension. This tension and chronic worry are more severe than your average anxiety.
Most of the time, they worry about your average day things such as money, health, family, work or school. But their worrying goes to the next degree. Sometimes, there may not even be a sign of trouble and they still worry.
People who experience GAD are unable to relax and often-times suffer from insomnia and can also suffer from physical symptoms as well.
These physical symptoms include:
• Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
• Being easily fatigued
• Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
• Being irritable
• Having muscle tension
• Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
• Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
There are said to be treatments for this disorder, but we will not discuss that in this post. If you feel as though you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or feel as though this disorder pertains to you, it would be advisable to speak to a professional.
2.) Panic Disorder
Panic disorder occurs when unexpected and repeated episodes of fear occur (panic attacks). These attacks come quickly and reach their peak within minutes. People with panic disorder often worry about when the next attack is going to occur. These attacks are often times caused by triggers including a feared object or situation.
In other words, if people with panic disorder come into contact with an object or situation that they fear, whatever the object or situation is, most likely, they will have an onset of symptoms leading to a panic attack.
These symptoms include:
• Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heart rate
• Trembling or shaking
• Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking
• Feelings of impending doom
• Feelings of being out of control
People experiencing panic disorders will often times spend a good portion of their day trying to avoid triggers to avoid having these attacks. They tend to avoid any and all objects, places, situations and behaviors that could trigger their next attack.
Once again, there are said to be treatments for this disorder, but we will not discuss them on this post.
3.) Separation Anxiety Disorder
Sufferers from separation anxiety disorder have extreme fears of being parted from people or things they are attached to. When they are separated from their attachment, they feel as though some type of harm may happen to them.
This anxiety leads to the person with separation anxiety disorder to not part away from their attachment and they avoid being alone. Being alone can cause the sufferer to be sad, withdrawn and difficulty concentrating. Often times, sufferers may have nightmares of being separated from their attachment figures.
The simple thought of being separated from their attachment can cause an onset of symptoms. Some symptoms could be physical and can include:
• Sore throat
• Unusual distress about being separated from their attachment figure (person or pet)
• Excessive worry about their attachment figure will be harmed if they leave them alone
• Heightened fear and worry of being alone
4.) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder that effects many people. People experiencing OCD have uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that they feel the need or urge to repeat over and over again.
These obsessions and compulsions severely interfere with daily life and daily activities because they are persistent and often times, unwanted. The behaviors are often rigid and if not completed, can cause a great deal of distress. Some OCD behaviors include:
• Fear of contamination
• Fear of harming others
• Fear of harming themselves
• Repulsive thoughts
• Depression and/or anxiety
• Eating disorders
• Counting and arranging
5.) Social Anxiety
This is a disorder I can directly relate to. Social anxiety is where one has a general intense fear or anxiety towards social or performance situations. Sufferers are afraid of being judged by others while in a social or public situations. They have a fear that people will negatively react towards their behavior, or being criticized leading to embarrassment or humility. People who suffer from social anxiety will avoid being in social environments or being in crowds all together.
Symptoms can occur in only one situation or a few situations including public speaking, drinking or eating in front of people, meeting new people, attending meetings, parties and concerts plus more. These symptoms can include:
• Fear of situations in which you may be judged
• Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
• Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
• Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
• Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
• Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
• Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
• Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
• Enduring a social situation with intense fear or anxiety
• Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
• Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation
My Personal Experience
For me, I get a high level of anxiety when I’m in large groups or crowds. I think it is more or less the fact that I can’t move around the way I need to, or that someone is in my personal space. Ironically enough, I enjoy being the center of attention, but only when I’m on stage, or giving a presentation AWAY from everyone else. Because of this disorder, it has stopped me from going to concerts or even shopping at times when I see there are too many people in the store (no matter how bad I may need an item.)
I also feel very nervous when talking to new people or strangers. I often times find it very hard to make eye contact when trying to spark up small conversation (which I suck at). I notice I start sweating and the thought of someone looking at me while I have these symptoms makes me feel embarrassed. I tend to avoid these situations altogether.
In the end, we all have some type of anxiety, some just have more or less than others. There are ways to deal with our anxiety without having to seek medical help and prescription drugs. But it is always a good idea, if you think something is severely wrong or may be out of your hands to seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with that. Until we chat again!
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The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. Self Verve is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. Be sure to contact your physician before trying any of the items stated in the above article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Self Verve does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.