Do you find it tricky to fall asleep with the racing thoughts inside your head? Have you ever experienced shortness of breath as if an elephant was sitting on your chest?
Anxiety is more than feeling nervous or worried about a job interview or test coming up. More precisely, it’s a common mental health issue that can significantly affect a person’s wellbeing. People can experience different types of anxiety for long periods.
The rest of this article will cover the main causes of anxiety, the different types of anxiety disorders, as well as where on the spectrum you can fall.
What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders?
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterised by uncontrollable and irrational worry over a wide range of issues. Often, daily routines are interfered with. People may have constant concerns over everyday matters.
- Social anxiety happens when people have an excessive fear of and tend to avoid social situations. Sufferers worry of being judged, negatively perceived, or rejected by people in these situations.
- Phobias are when people have an extreme and irrational fear over something specific. They can be persistent, where people can be scared over a certain object, situation, or activity.
- Panic attacks are known by its sudden episodes of extreme fear. They are caused by something that might not be a real threat. Usually, they’re accompanied by severe physical reactions that lead many to think they’re dying.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined by obsessions that lead to compulsions. People experience repeated irrational thoughts (obsessions) that causes the urge to perform a specific behaviour over and over again (compulsions), even if they don’t want to.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs following a traumatic event. When this happens, the natural fight-or-flight mode altered. Therefore, people may endure intense episodes of anxiety even when they’re safe.
How to know what type of anxiety you have
GAD’s main traits are concerns over ordinary issues, such as finances or work. This is easily recognised by long or repeated periods of restlessness, worrying or irritability.
Social anxiety is more specific as people tend to worry about what other people think of them. Some might go out of their way to avoid being judged. For example, avoiding eye contact during a conversation or turning down an invitation.
People who suffer from phobias have similar specific fears, but over a certain object, situation, or activity. When they encounter it, they tend to experience a panic attack.
Simliarly, this also happens with those who suffer from PTSD. They can also experience flashbacks or nightmares.
OCD is not just wanting things neat and tidy. Many tend to think something bad is going to happen that can only be resolved by performing a certain behaviour. This can interfere with daily life.
What causes these types of anxiety?
Anything cause anxiety, and everyone’s anxiety is different. But there are main causes that we can pinpoint. Past or childhood experiences, stress build-up, your current life situation or personality can lead to one of these anxiety disorders.
There are also biological factors that we can consider. Someone’s genetics or family medical history can cause a person to develop anxiety. Physical or even other mental health problems, such as depression, can also be a factor. What’s also important is the drugs and medication a person takes, as the side effects can include anxiety.
People tend to think that anxiety is just nerves or worrying. But it can be more than that. There are in fact six different types of anxiety that can be debilitating, if left untreated. This is why awareness about the types of anxiety and its causes are essential, so you can best treat it.