Millions of people around the world struggle with anxiety disorders, but many people are unaware that there is more than one type of anxiety. While ‘anxiety’ is a common word that many of us have heard, there are various types of anxiety. It’s important to understand the difference between these anxiety disorders, particularly if you struggle with anxiety yourself or are supporting somebody else with anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder
This is one of the most common anxiety disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder, also known as GAD, makes a person feel worried and anxious most days of the week. People who suffer with generalized anxiety disorder are often more susceptible to developing depression, which can exacerbate their symptoms.
People who experience panic attacks may suffer from a panic disorder. A panic attack normally occurs when a person is experiencing an overwhelming level of stress and anxiety. There are several physical symptoms which come with panic attacks, including shortness of breath, heart palpitations, increased perspiration and dizziness.
Sometimes people mistake social anxiety for being shy, however, it is very different. Although stressing over a particular social situation, such as a job interview, public speaking or meeting someone senior for the first time might seem daunting for a lot of people, social anxiety increases these fears. People suffering from social anxiety will worry about situations before, during and after they have taken place. Sometimes it may take weeks to stop worrying about something that happened in a social situation or what somebody might have thought about you or your behavior. It may be unenjoyable spending time in social situations, particularly if there are people you don’t know very well. This can damage self-esteem and confidence, and induce feeling of guilt as well as other forms of anxiety disorders.
There are many different types of phobias. Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), acrophobia (fear of heights) and claustrophobia (fear of crowded or confined spaces) are just three of the most common phobias. In addition to this, there are many other phobias, including fear of water, fear of flying, fear of flowers and fear of numbers. When somebody has a phobia, it causes an intense form of anxiety. It isn’t something they can just ‘get over’, although like all other anxiety disorders many people are able to manage their phobias and anxiety better after medical support and forms of therapy.