Types Of Anxiety Disorders And How You Can Treat Them
Updated July 01, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers
Anxiety is a very serious problem that many people deal with every single day. Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder is very common, and if you’re struggling with anxiety symptoms, you should know that you’re not alone. The World Health Organization has stated that one in thirteen people suffer from some type of anxiety globally. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, and which anxiety disorder you might be suffering from will need to be determined by your doctor. If you would like to learn more about the various anxiety disorders that exist and how you can treat then, then please keep reading.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a type of anxiety disorder that causes someone to feel constantly worried. If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, then you might feel a sense of anxiety underneath the surface while doing many tasks. Anxiety disorders like this are very persistent, and you might wind up feeling very anxious about everyday activities. You might feel worried about things in your life, even when there isn’t anything to be worried about. It can be frustrating and confusing for people to feel this way, and that’s why getting help with anxiety disorders is so important.
Panic disorder is another one of the anxiety disorders that you need to be aware of. People who have panic disorder will experience panic episodes that can be very extreme at times. These panic episodes could manifest themselves with physical symptoms such as chest pains, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and even dizziness. Some people also experience abdominal pain when they have a panic attack. This is the disorder that is associated with panic attacks, and some people feel as if they’re going to die when they’re in the middle of a severe panic episode.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most extreme anxiety disorders that you can experience. PTSD often occurs in people who have gone through particularly traumatic events such as serving in a war. This is why so many soldiers have PTSD. Victims of various traumatic experiences can develop PTSD because of what they have been through in their lives. The traumatic events that an individual experienced can come rushing back to the forefront of their mind. This can cause extreme panic, and PTSD issues need to be monitored closely. Coping with anxiety disorders such as PTSD can be very difficult, but treatments are available.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is another problematic type of anxiety that many people suffer from. When someone has a social anxiety disorder, they will have problems interacting with other people. Some people have extreme social anxiety, and they will not be able to leave the house without feeling an extreme sense of panic. Others only have social anxiety problems in very specific situations. There are varying degrees of social anxiety, but most people feel very self-conscious about specific things when they suffer from it. Anxiety disorders like this can be brought under control with time and treatment.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder, as well. This is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by a person having unwanted, repeated thoughts or actions. Someone who has OCD might compulsively wash their hands, or they could feel compelled to touch every object in a room before they are allowed to leave it. Having OCD can be challenging in many ways, and it makes it tough for some people to live without complications. However, OCD is something that can be controlled with therapy. Many patients get help with their OCD, and they learn to control their compulsions over time.
Treatments for Anxiety
Now that you know more about the various anxiety disorders that exist, you’re probably wondering about treatment options. Thankfully, there are many treatment options available for people suffering from anxiety disorders. It’s possible to work with a mental health professional to get things under control. There are two main methods for controlling anxiety that you’ll want to explore as well as several recommendations that you can keep in mind for managing symptoms.
There are many anti-anxiety medications on the market that people use to control anxiety symptoms. Anti-anxiety prescription medications are used to treat people with many different types of anxiety. Whether you’re suffering from social anxiety or if you have a generalized anxiety disorder, it’ll be beneficial to speak to your doctor about medication options. Some medicines are meant to help people with panic disorder and managing panic attacks. It’s best to speak with your doctor about your mental health so that you can determine the best route to take to get things under control.
Therapy is very effective when it comes to helping people with anxiety. Sometimes it’s going to be best to deal with the underlying conditions that are causing the anxiety. A licensed therapist can work with you to help you understand why you’re experiencing so much anxiety. For some people, there will be specific anxiety triggers that are causing the anxiety disorders to worsen. Others might be leading lives that are too stressful and will need to reassess things.
Anxiety isn’t the same for everyone, and what you’re experiencing could be drastically different than what someone else who has an anxiety disorder is going through. A therapist will be good at working with you to get to the core of your issues. Social anxiety disorders usually develop for a reason, and figuring that out could help a person to overcome their limitations. People suffering from PTSD work with therapists extensively to manage symptoms and develop coping mechanisms. There are several different types of therapy that you can rely on as well.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Some therapists will use a cognitive-behavioral approach to treating your anxiety. This is a therapy style that examines negative thoughts or actions and how they can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Changing the way that you think about something can often improve things, and this might even be enough to get your anxiety under control. Working with a therapist who offers CBT therapy could work wonders, depending on your situation.
One of the biggest reasons why cognitive behavioral therapy has become so standard is that it works very well. Feelings of anxiety are not always reasonable, and sometimes they occur because of cognitive distortions that you have created. For instance, you might experience extreme anxiety in social situations, and you could feel very self-conscious. Many people who experience social anxiety feel the way that they do because they think others are looking at them and judging them. When you realize that the things that you’re thinking aren’t necessarily true, it becomes easier to let go of the anxiety that you’re holding onto.
It takes time to make changes, but the cognitive-behavioral approach to therapy has helped a number of people. You can learn how your negative thoughts and actions can be changed for the better. Thinking about the situation in a positive way and changing your actions could turn things around. You can count on the guidance of a therapist to help you determine a path forward when you’re dealing with various anxiety issues.
Another approach to therapy is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a bit different because it forces a person to confront the things that cause them anxiety. This is a type of therapy that works well for some people with anxiety, but it isn’t practical in every situation. Sometimes confronting your fears can help you to overcome them, and this could lead to someone who has an anxiety disorder feeling better about certain situations. Repeated exposure to something might make it seem more natural to you, and you will no longer experience anxiety when put in that situation.
Online therapy is also readily available to you if you would like to go that route. Online therapy is an affordable and discreet option that has worked well for so many people. It allows patients to reach out online and talk to licensed therapists whenever it is convenient for them to do so. Whether online therapy sounds good to you or if you’d like to see a therapist in person, it’s going to be helpful to consider therapy as one of the best treatment options for anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions.
Lifestyle Changes To Manage Anxiety
It’s also worth noting that lifestyle changes can help people to feel better overall. Doctors recommend ensuring that you are getting enough exercise when you’re trying to alleviate anxiety symptoms. Even adopting a mild daily exercise routine could help you to manage your stress levels and reduce feelings of anxiety. This will also be good for your overall health and can make you feel more confident. Regular exercise should be combined with eating a healthy diet to get the maximum benefits.
Other common-sense lifestyle changes can also make a difference. Getting enough sleep at night will make you less prone to experiencing certain anxiety symptoms, and you should also consider avoiding alcohol. Reducing your stress levels can make a difference for your mental health, too. Consider the things that cause you to feel anxious and then work with your doctor to come up with a plan for reducing your daily stress levels that will be practical for you.