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There are several forms of anxiety disorders. Millions of people throughout the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and they affect every area of their life. This isn't like normal anxiety which everyone goes through from time to time. Normal anxiety goes away and usually is associated with a situation. Anxiety disorders don't just go away they get worse as time goes on. The individual needs help because the symptoms are unmanageable and their physical and emotional health can be affected.
People suffering from anxiety disorders are unable to live a normal life and be happy. The symptoms affect a person's health, home life, careers and relationships. Without treatment individuals suffering with these disorders are not only miserable but sometimes try to find ways of coping with their symptoms on their own. Using drugs and alcohol only makes the problems worse but some people find using substances are the only way they're able to cope. Some people become dependent on alcohol, drugs, food or tobacco and are in need of treatment for both their anxiety disorder and substance addiction.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People suffering with generalized anxiety disorder have chronic anxiety and their worries and tensions are exaggerated for no reason. Their anxiety and feelings of panic are not associated with anything in particular, for example; they will worry over someone's health but the person is actually in excellent health.
Individuals with this anxiety disorder anticipate problems and concerns before they even happen and they will worry excessively for months on end. The smallest thought will produce anxiety and affect the person for no reason. Individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorder most of the time know that their anxiety and panicky feelings are more intense than it should be but they can't stop, they're unable to relax.
Physical symptoms are experienced along with their tension and worries and the individual is miserable. Along with their excessive anticipation and anxious worry they experience fatigue, headaches, tension in their muscles, achy muscles, have problems swallowing, they tremble and twitch, they're irritable, perspire, feel nauseas, become light-headed, get out of breath easy, experience hot flashes and frequently use the bathroom.
GAD doesn't develop over-night; these symptoms gradually develop over time and can begin at any point in a person's life. Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million American adults and this disorder affects twice as many women compared to men. Even though GAD can occur at any time, between childhood and middle age seems to be the highest risk years. They're finding that genes are a major factor in individuals suffering from GAD.
It's not uncommon for a person suffering from GAD to also have depression and use drugs or alcohol. Medications, Behavioral Therapy along with other treatments related to dual diagnosis and addiction can help an individual with this disorder lead a healthy happy life.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Individuals suffering from OCD constantly and repeatedly have thoughts that are upsetting to them, these are called obsessions. Some people who have obsessive compulsive disorder wash their hands constantly or clean constantly because they're obsessed with germs or dirt. They do the same thing over and over to make the feelings go away, this behavior is compulsive. OCD consumes the person's life and doesn't go away but there is treatment for anyone suffering from this disorder.
Most of the time symptoms of OCD begin to appear in children and teenagers and it usually runs in families. Those who research OCD think that the brain circuit may have something to do with this disorder. They feel the circuits in the brain aren't working properly. Some people with OCD also have eating disorders.
2.2 million Adults suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder and men are affected as much as women. This obsessive compulsive ritual interferes with every aspect of the individual's life. The symptom signs of OCD most of the time start to appear in either childhood, adolescence, or in early adulthood and runs in families.
Many people suffering from OCD also have depression. Medications and exposure based psychotherapy having the individual face their fears and anxieties are very helpful for those suffering with OCD. Some people with OCD don't respond well to typical forms of therapy though. Research is continuing in order to find new treatment approaches for the people in need of other forms of therapy.
Panic attacks are very severe and intense feelings of terror and fear. These panic attacks can take place while you're even sleeping. They can continue to worsen for up to 10 minutes or longer and the feelings and symptoms are frightening for the person experiencing them.
During a panic attack your heart begins to pound, the individual begins to sweat, they feel faint and weak and sometimes they're dizzy. The individual can become flushed and their hands can either feel tingly or numb. Some people during a panic attack get nauseous, experience chest pains and feel as though they're unable to breathe. Many people feel they're having a heart attack and that they're dying.
Because the symptoms associated with panic attacks are so horrible the person sometimes anticipates and worries about the next panic attack they will have. Panic attacks come without warning and no one knows when another attack will come on.
Around 6 million American adults suffer from Panic Disorder and twice as many women are affected than men. The symptoms of panic disorder usually begin to show up in late adolescence or in early adulthood. Not everyone that has panic attacks develops panic disorder, many people have experienced a panic attack in their life but this doesn't mean they will progress into panic disorder.
If a person has severe panic disorder it can ruin their life. Many people go to the Emergency Room or to their doctors because of the horrible attacks and symptoms but never get diagnosed with panic disorder. Panic disorders once they're diagnosed can be very successfully treated and is the easiest anxiety disorder to treat. Medications and cognitive psychotherapy are very helpful when treating panic disorders.
Many people who suffer with panic disorder also have depression and use drugs or alcohol. Treating the illness of panic and depression along with a possible substance use issue helps the individual manage their symptoms in a healthy way and lead a happy normal life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD begins to develop after a person has gone through a horrible and terrifying incident that includes physical harm even if the harm was just threatened. War veterans suffer from PTSD and they were the first ones responsible for the public becoming aware of this disorder. There are many different ordeals that can lead to post traumatic stress disorder, some of these include:
- A mugging
- Held captive
- Child abuse
- A vehicle accident
- Train wreck
- Plane crash
If the ordeal or incident that triggered a person's PTSD was purposely done by another person like a mugging the symptoms can be much worse. A person with post-traumatic stress disorder becomes numb emotionally especially with people they were close to before the incident. They're unable to enjoy life the way they use to, have a hard time with feelings of affection, they're irritable sometimes, some become more aggressive or violent.
People suffering from PTSD relive their terrifying experience when they're sleeping and during the day think about the incident. Flashbacks of the horrible occurrence are with them all the time. In order to be classified as PTSD the symptoms need to last for more than a month. Everyone is different, some people with post-traumatic stress disorder recover within a half a year and with others it takes a much longer time to recover.
PTSD can occur at any age and affects around 7.7 million American adults. This disorder affects men and women but women are much more likely to develop PTSD. Many times people with PTSD also experience depression, use drugs or alcohol and may have other anxiety disorders as well. Medications and certain forms of psychotherapy are used to treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and have been very successful.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is also referred to as social phobia. People with this disorder are extremely self-conscious in normal social situations. Feelings of anxiousness are overwhelming for a person with social anxiety disorder. They are always feeling that people are judging them and they're continuously worried they're going to do something wrong to embarrass them self.
The individual will dread and worry for weeks in advance if there's a social event or activity they're going to attend. Situations can be as small as eating in front of other people which can bring on physical symptoms associated with social anxiety disorder. Many times the person can experience these symptoms with everyone they're around except for their family.
Social anxiety disorder symptoms include blushing from embarrassment, perspiring heavily, trembling and shaking, nausea, and trouble talking. There are around 15 million American adults that are affected by social anxiety disorder and it affects men and women equally. This disorder develops in childhood or early adolescence usually and the individual many times also has depression or other anxiety disorders.
Some people attempt to self-medicate their symptoms of anxiety and use drugs or alcohol which can lead to addiction. Medications and specific forms of psychotherapy are very success treatments for people suffering from social anxiety disorder.