What is anxiety?
When a person suffers from an anxiety disorder, it is different from the unpleasant emotion that most people have experiences when they're faced with uncomfortable situations and stress. Anxiety causes much worse symptoms, for longer periods of time and often affects the person in every day life. There are different types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.
Generalized anxiety disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday things with no obvious reasons. In people who suffer with the disorder, the worry is often unrealistic or over the top. The anxiety often dominates the person's thinking and interferes with daily functioning, including relationships, social life and school or work.
Signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, often referred to as OCD is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to repetitive ritual behaviours called compulsions. Although performing the ritual may temporarily relieve anxiety, the person must perform the ritual again when the obsessive thoughts return.
The disorder can be so consuming that it consumes the person's day and stops them from doing normal everyday things. People with OCD may be aware that their obsessions and compulsions are unrealistic, but they cannot stop them.
Common obsessions include
Post traumatic stress disorder
Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a serious mental disorder that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. PTSD can completely take over a persons life and cause distressing symptoms.
Risk factors for developing post traumatic stress disorder include intense or long-lasting trauma, having mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, experiencing sexual assault, suffering from childhood trauma, physical or sexual abuse.
Signs and symptoms include
Where to get help
Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. It is one of the most common mental disorders. When a person has social anxiety disorder, everyday interactions cause anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment.
Signs and symptoms of social anxiety include
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. When panic attacks are recurrent, and long periods are spent in constant fear of another attack it can be a condition called panic disorder.
Signs and symptoms include:
Specific phobias are lasting and unreasonable fears caused by the presence or thought of a specific object or situation. Exposure to the object or situation causes intense anxiety and someone suffering from a phobia will often try to avoid the object or situation. The distress associated with the phobia and/or the need to avoid the object or situation can interfere with the person's ability to function.
Common phobias include
Signs and symptoms of specific phobias include: