The Truth About Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Everyone experiences anxiety, which is a common and healthy emotion. Our bodies’ responses to stimuli force us to either “fight” or “flee” from a situation. But anxiety attacks become a problem that needs to be dealt with right away when they are frequent, severe, and out of proportion, and when they start to hurt a person’s health (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Between healthy and unhealthy anxiety attacks, there is a fine line. Unfortunately, people don’t pay much attention to the line between normal anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Types of Anxiety Disorder
There are six different types of anxiety disorders, each with its characteristics: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic worry or fear over almost everything without even knowing why. They feel anxious about day-to-day activities and are troubled that bad things will happen. People with GAD show symptoms such as stomach upset, fatigue, restlessness, and insomnia.
Panic disorder is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, and fears that panic episodes will likely happen. People with panic disorder are likely to have agoraphobia, or the fear of being in places where getting help or escaping will be difficult in the event of another panic attack. People with agoraphobia are also afraid of being trapped in confined places such as an airplane or crowded areas such as shopping malls.
Phobia is an extreme, irrational, and overblown fear of simple things that usually don’t pose much or any risk. Common phobias are heights, snakes, spiders, the dark, and flying. People with phobias tend to avoid the things they are afraid of to escape anxiety attacks. However, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that happens after a life-threatening or traumatic event. People with PTSD show symptoms such as hypervigilance, avoiding situations or places that remind them of the event, nightmares, and flashbacks about the things that happened, startling easily, and isolation.
Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is the fear of being seen negatively by others or of being humiliated in public by other people. Social anxiety is often mistaken for ordinary shyness. People with this kind of disorder usually isolate themselves from others, events, and places where crowds usually gather. Stage fright is the most common type of social anxiety.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a condition where a person has unwanted behaviors or thoughts that appear to be impossible to control. People with OCD can have certain obsessions, such as worries that they might hurt someone or that they have forgotten to turn the lights off. They can also have an uncontrollable compulsion. The most common is washing hands repeatedly.
- Do you experience anxiety attacks?
- Are you always worried, tense, and on the edge?
- Do you feel like you are in danger whenever you are in confined places?
- Are you afraid of mingling with strangers, meeting new friends, or even meeting relatives?
- Do you feel that something bad or catastrophic will happen if certain things are not done according to plan?
- Do you experience worry, fear and anxiousness that affect your relationship, work, healthy, and other responsibilities?
- Do you feel irrational fear but couldn’t shake it?
- Does your anxiety force you to avoid everyday situations and activitie
A medical or mental health professional is the only one who can tell if someone has a social anxiety disorder. If you still experience symptoms after being given the all-clear medically, get in touch with us to talk about it.