Anxiety is often to be just that, an emotion. But when it feels overwhelming or becomes disruptive in your life, it can be classified as an anxiety disorder. These anxiety disorders are not all the same, and it is important to understand their differences. This can help you, if you are struggling with anxiety, to target the right treatments and make progress toward feeling better.
Understanding what the different types of anxiety disorders are and how they manifest in someone’s life can be helpful. Also knowing the differences in how they present can be key to finding the right help and feeling better. So, in this blog post, we are going to discuss the different types of anxiety disorders and how they might show up in your life.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is one of the most well-known anxiety disorders. You can experience intrusive thoughts and worries that feel difficult for you to stop thinking about. These thoughts and worries that make you anxious can be about everyday things such as you or your family’s health, finances, work, or relationships.
You may feel restless or on edge and have trouble concentrating or falling asleep. Concentrating may be difficult due to your anxiety and feelings of being easily fatigued. Physically, you will feel the anxiety present. In ways like muscle aches and tension, headaches, or stomach aches. For example, you may feel like your chest is tight or that you can’t seem to get enough air.
Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder where you have chronic worries about being judged in social situations or performing in front of others. This could be at work, in a social gathering, or speaking publicly. It leads you to worry that others will notice you look anxious, and you may feel embarrassed or worry about potentially saying something wrong.
This can make an individual with social anxiety rather self-conscious as they fear that others will notice their anxiety. This can lead to an individual avoiding social situations out of fear or embarrassment, limiting them from pursuing relationships, a career, or other activities. If you have social anxiety, you may experience a racing heart in crowds or social situations, difficulty speaking, or an intense fear of being judged.
When you have panic attacks that occur regularly and usually happen without any trigger or warning, this is classified as Panic Disorder. Having Panic Disorder can have you in a state of constant fear of another panic attack happening to where you avoid places you have had one before. Or, you may even avoid places that you feel may trigger another attack.
During a panic attack, you will experience intense fear of losing control, dying during the panic attack, or something bad is about to happen. These feelings can lead you to flee if you are around others in public. You can even have physical symptoms of a panic attack such as a rapid increase in your heart rate, difficulty breathing, sweating, chest pain, and dizziness.
Having a specific, overwhelming fear of something that causes you severe anxiety when you are exposed to it is called a phobia. Often, individuals will change their lives to avoid the situation, object, or thing that their phobia is about. This is because the fear is debilitating and difficult to cope with.
For example, agoraphobia is a type of fear that includes a fear of public places or crowded places without an easy way to escape. Aerophobia is the fear of flying, and acrophobia is the fear of heights. Phobias can lead to extreme anxiety when you are exposed to the object of your fear and can cause further avoidance behaviors. But, these responses can be reduced by developing coping mechanisms to manage the fear and anxiety when you are exposed.
Not Sure What Anxiety Disorder You Might Have?
Having anxiety can be overwhelming and make day-to-day life difficult. Sometimes, it can be difficult to fully understand which type of anxiety disorder you have or if the level of your anxiousness is something “normal”. There are ways to assess and understand your anxiety, such as through therapy, to help you find the right treatment approach for you.
Check-in With Yourself Everyday
Anxiety is usually hidden in the everyday stuff that you do. From worrying about what people are thinking about you to what you wear. The people pleasing, the fear of making mistakes or failures, and more. It’s important to check in with yourself every day and ask if these worries and fears are “normal levels of anxiety” or if you feel as if you have a more specific type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is normal and we have to have some anxiety to function but when anxiety becomes overwhelming and stops you from living your life as you normally would, it is time to get help.
Develop Body Awareness
One way to recognize anxious behaviors is through your own body. This is important because many of us perceive that anxiety is all in our heads. That is completely mental. But, it usually starts in our bodies. Being aware of your body and having body awareness is a powerful way to spot anxiety symptoms and understand your anxiety better.
For example, if you start to experience a racing heart, difficulty speaking, or an intense fear of being judged in social situations, your body is telling you that you may be feeling anxious. Becoming aware of these physical sensations can help you better understand your anxiety and how to manage it. It can also be a way for your body to let you know that it is time to take a break and do something calming.
Talk to an Anxiety Therapist
Talking with a professional who specializes in anxiety disorders can help you learn more about your signs and symptoms, what type of anxiety you are experiencing, and how to effectively manage it. You can have support to educate yourself along with specific tools to target your anxiety type. A therapist can help you overcome your anxiety and empower you to live a more fulfilling life with less anxiousness.
For instance, in anxiety therapy, I use CBT and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. These are to help people understand their anxiety, make sense of it, and develop skills to cope with it. In CBT, we would focus on identifying and challenging the negative thoughts that cause your anxiety, as well as developing relaxation techniques to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety. In ACT, we would focus on accepting the thoughts and feelings associated with your anxiety, while also engaging in activities that are meaningful to you.
Gain an Understanding of Anxiety
Understanding the types of anxiety can help you to understand more about yourself and the treatment approach that you may need. Gaining support from an anxiety therapist can benefit you in many ways and give you the guidance to better manage your anxiety. It can be a difficult journey but with time, patience, courage, and willingness, you can overcome your anxiety.
Interested? Begin Therapy for Anxiety in Orange County, CA
Understanding the different types of anxiety disorders can help you take the first step toward managing and improving your anxiety symptoms. At Care Therapy I specialize in working with women who have anxiety, as I have a deep understanding of the unique challenges they face. Together we will work on educating you about your anxiety and developing personalized treatment plans tailored to specific needs, goals, and interests. If you are interested in starting Therapy for Anxiety, follow the steps below to begin your journey to healing.
2. Reach out to me via email @email@example.com or call 949-441-CARE
3. Start understanding your anxiety and take steps to overcome it!
Other Therapy Services Offered by Care Therapy ONLINE
You’re complex, imperfect, and constantly changing. Having an anxiety therapist in Orange County, CA who understands that can help you take control of your life from anxiety. This is why in addition to Therapy for Anxiety, I also work with women who are struggling with depression and women who are in the midst of kidney failure and dialysis. You have been holding it together by yourself for so long, it’s OK to get help. You will not only survive but thrive! Discover more blog posts here!