Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of worry and fear. Anxiety is the worry about future events and fear is the reaction to current events. The effects of Anxiety may cause physical symptoms, such as a fast heart rate, shakiness, digestives issues, physical pain and skin problems amongst many others. People often have more than one anxiety disorder.
The five major types of anxiety disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is mainly characterized by chronic anxiety. This usually comprises of extreme worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing at all to be worried about.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is mainly characterized by reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors could include; hygiene rituals, checking, counting or cleaning. Performing certain rituals provides one with temporary relief, whilst not engaging in the ritual(s) would usually increase anxiety within the sufferer.
Panic Disorder (PD)
Panic disorder (PD) is mainly characterized by unexpected and unwanted episodes of intense fear which may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as; chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is mainly characterized by a development of symptoms after exposure to a terrifying event which physical harm occurred to the person or their wellbeing was threatened or was perceived to be threatened. Events that may trigger PTSD within somebody may include; violent personal assaults, natural disasters, accidents, or military service.
Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
Social Phobia or (SAD) is mainly characterized by crippling anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in social situations. Social phobia can permeate through one’s life from going to the local shop, talking to another person or speaking in front a group.
The cause of these anxiety disorders may be a combination of environmental & genetic factors – it is extremely complex. Anxiety disorders often occur alongside other mental disorders such as; Depression, Bi-Polar Syndrome and Addiction.
Without treatment, anxiety disorders will remain present throughout one’s lifetime. By attempting to escape situations which usually increase the Anxiety, one is making the condition worse and in giving strength so to speak to the disorder.
Treatment may include lifestyle changes, counselling, developing techniques, acquiring information and working towards a solution and taking certain medications.
In my experience like anything; Anxiety can be used as a positive thing – a lesson in fact. It is all about our perspective and attitude towards it. Anxiety hurts, and it disrupts many aspects of one’s life, depending on the severity of the condition. However, only because of the worrisome troubling times can we truly appreciate the days and moments where peace may fall upon us. Anxiety may insist that one meditates daily, that one socially interacts more, expresses themselves through music or poetry, creates healthy consumption habits, that one exercises, slows down their pace and engages in activities such as Yoga or Tai Chi. These are all positive things which may only be regularly practiced by the sufferer to manage their anxiety but in undertaking these activities and rituals, they are benefiting other areas of their life and personal well-being in fantastic ways. They may never of had practiced any of these things if they didn’t have too in order to regulate or manage their Anxiety (This is true in my case).
Anxiety may connect one with a higher power or guiding presence with who they can place their faith in to take worry from themselves. In having this belief, they may be attuning to their soul’s purpose of living by spiritual or religious principles and living in accordance with their highest values. Only through suffering with Anxiety would this type of life have been lived. Ultimately, we can work naturally with ourselves to create a comfortable and balanced existence and if something like anxiety prevents that, there is a higher reason and higher purpose for it. The sufferer may have many milestones to reach and mountains to climb within their own subjective world and every day of improvement is a day of personal growth. One may suffer with Anxiety, but once we accept it and try and make it work with us, we can create the equilibrium between mind, body and soul which we are all striving for, different roads to the same destination.