Types of Anxiety
Anxiety is the main symptom of a number of different conditions. It is characterized by feelings of anxiety or worry, which can range from mild to severe. Everyone experiences the symptoms of anxiety from time to time, such as when facing an exam or an interview. During times like these, anxiety is a normal response. However, some people find that their worries overwhelm them and they cannot get them under control. Knowing how to manage anxiety can help you to regain control over your day to day life.
The following are common forms of anxiety disorders and their symptoms:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – the most common form of anxiety disorder. The main symptom of GAD is consistent worrying about a range of different activities and events. If you have GAD, you may feel anxious or ‘on edge’ in your surroundings. Quality of life can be severely affected by GAD as it can affect sleeping patterns, work, and ability to leave the house. Depression and other forms of anxiety disorders are commonly present together with GAD. Furthermore, it can be difficult to diagnose because it lacks some of the specific symptoms of other anxiety disorders. A doctor may diagnose GAD if you report persistent symptoms for the past six months and it has had a significant impact on your day to day life.
- Panic Disorder – is symptomized by regular panic attacks with no discernible trigger. The panic attacks can happen suddenly and can feel very intense and frightening. Knowing how to manage anxiety can also help when managing panic attacks.
- Social anxiety disorder – sometimes known as social phobia, is symptomized by an intense fear or dread of social or performance situations. This can happen before, during, or even after the event. These events could be; meeting new people, speaking in public, dining in public, or dating. The fear that you will do something that is embarrassing or shameful can cause physical symptoms such as; sweating, blushing, a tremor in the voice, and a fast heartbeat. This may lead to avoidance of situations where you experience this type of reaction.
- Agoraphobia – is the fear of situations where escape might be difficult. This could include leaving your home, being in public, being in crowded spaces, or using public modes of transport. The symptoms can include panic, distress, and avoidance of these situations altogether.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – symptoms of OCD include obsessions, compulsions, or both. If you are experiencing obsessions you may have recurring unwelcome thoughts or images that are mostly out of your control. These thoughts can be disturbing to quality of life and therefore can be distressing and anxiety provoking. A compulsion is something that you think about or do repeatedly in order to alleviate anxiety. You might feel that something bad will happen if you do not do these things. You may also realize that this behavior is illogical but you might not be able to stop.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – if you have experienced a life-threatening situation, you may struggle with anxiety symptoms which continue after the event, even if you were not physically harmed at the time. These symptoms can continue for months or years after the event.
- Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – is symptomized by recurring thoughts that you are ugly and embarrassment about your appearance. This is not the same as being vain about your appearance and the thoughts can have a large impact on your quality of life. If not managed effectively, BDD can lead to depression.
Skin-picking and hair-pulling are other forms of anxiety disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling with how to manage anxiety, then we at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, can help you to control the symptoms of anxiety.
Dealing with Anxiety
- Talk to a family member, friend, or health professional. There are also a number of helplines available if you need someone to talk to.
- Exercise can help you to relax; running, walking, swimming, and yoga are effective methods of relieving anxiety.
- Use calming breathing exercises/meditation techniques.
- Consume a healthy diet in order to keep your energy levels stable.
- Download relaxation and mindfulness apps.
- Make use of peer support – people often use their experiences to help each other. This can be done in the community or online.
- Mental well-being audio guides are an effective and convenient strategy for relieving anxiety.
The Do Not’s of managing anxiety:
- Don’t fixate on the things you can’t change. Focus your energy into things which can help you to feel better.
- Do not avoid situations which make you feel anxious. This can increase the anxious feelings. Try to slowly build up the time you spend in these situations to alleviate anxiety.
- Do not try to do everything at once. Set yourself small, achievable targets.
- Remind yourself that you are not alone; most people experience some form of anxiety at some stage in their life.
- Avoid using substances to relieve anxiety; alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes can contribute to poor mental health.
To find out more about how to manage anxiety, or to learn about the mental health services provided at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, contact us at 518-218-1188.