For me living with anxiety on a daily basis is taxing. I worry about almost everything. From the time I get up in the morning I already have a mental list of things to do and problems to solve. The big problem is that most of these things are not mine to solve or they will just work out themselves without my interference if I practice patience. One thing I started doing when I awake is to thank God for everything.
I recently planted a memorial garden in my yard. As I sit and enjoy the work that I put into it and the beauty that came from that hard work I thank God for giving me the desire and strength to complete it. One day it rained so hard and I was thankful that the newly planted flowers got a good dose of water to start with. My garden has brought me peace when I feel anxious and along with the peace came birds and butterflies galore. I am thankful to have the capacity to appreciate what nature brings. I just have to pay attention and be calm. It’s hard to feel anxious when love and appreciation are in your heart.
There’s nothing easy or fun about anxiety. Many think about anxiety as just a feeling of nervousness or being on edge constantly. This simply isn’t the case.
What are the different types of anxiety?
5 Different Types of Anxiety (and How to Treat Them)
- Generalized Anxiety.
Generalized anxiety (often referred to as GAD) is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s the most commonly recognized anxiety disorder in the world.
Those who experience GAD are likely to worry about everything instead of one phobia. You may feel like you’re on edge all the time for no good reason.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best ways to combat GAD. And, regular exercise, and in some instances, medication, GAD is entirely manageable.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
It’s about an obsessive desire to keep things in an orderly fashion, count things, or think about a particular topic. It’s more than just a pervasive sense of dread. Those with OCD often have ‘rituals’ or sayings or activities that they perform on a regular basis. Failure to adhere to their traditions can result in extreme distress.
OCD is a bit harder to get a handle on, as patients are often reluctant to give up their rituals. Like GAD or any of the types of anxiety on this list, therapy has been shown to be extremely effective. Typically, those with OCD know that their fears aren’t “rational” but they just can’t seem to stop. The aid of a mental health professional can be a tremendous benefit. He or she will work with the patient using what’s known as Exposure and Response Treatment. This type of treatment exposes the patient to his or her fears in small, controlled doses. Medicines like SSRIs have also been shown to help minimize symptoms of OCD.
- Social Anxiety Disorder.
Aside from GAD, social anxiety disorder is the most prevalent type of anxiety on this list. Social anxiety involves more than just a fear of public speaking, however. And while it’s not as extreme as agoraphobia, it still affects social behaviors. You may find yourself too nervous to interact with someone, even if you know that person well. You may also experience feelings of claustrophobia when you’re in the middle of a crowd. You may expect it by now, but CBT is a great resource for those suffering from social anxiety disorder. Much of the therapy will involve visualization. For instance, let’s say someone has a deep fear of looking stupid at a party. The therapist will talk them through a scenario where they’re at a party. Perhaps they have to make a speech or propose a toast. In this scenario, the therapist would have the patient visualize the speech going awry. By exposing the patient to their fear, the therapist will give the patient a better understanding of the reality of the situation.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is one of the more extreme types of anxiety on this list. Unlike most of the other anxiety disorders on this list, PTSD is notoriously hard to diagnose. While we associate PTSD with soldiers and wartime, you don’t have to see combat to experience PTSD. In fact, anyone who has experienced severe emotional trauma is at risk. If you’re experiencing PTSD, you likely relive your trauma in nightmares of flashbacks. You may find yourself acting strangely or snapping at others for no good reason. What makes PTSD such a tough disorder to conquer is that it manifests physically as well as mentally. Accordingly, a physician may work in tandem with your psychologist or psychiatrist. PTSD treatment is generally focused on determining what “triggers” a reaction from the patient. The recovery process isn’t fun, but it’s certainly worthwhile.
Agoraphobics may feel an intense fear of not being able to escape a situation. Accordingly, many agoraphobics may rarely leave their home. They may feel that their neighbors or friends are “out to get them” or have a vendetta against them. Agoraphobics tend to make camp in their home and stay there, leaving as little as possible. When they do leave, they may experience many of the same symptoms of GAD and PTSD such as panic attacks and claustrophobic feelings. So how can one treat agoraphobia if they can’t leave their home? Believe it or not, modern technology can help tremendously. Someone suffering from this anxiety can hop onto an app or even an on-line support group for help. There are platforms that let a doctor interact with a patient in much the same way they would in a physical office. Make no mistake, there’s still hope.
If your doctor doesn’t find any medical reason for how you’re feeling, she may send you to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health specialist. Those doctors will ask you questions and use tools and testing to find out if you may have an anxiety disorder.
Your doctor will consider how long and how intense your symptoms are when diagnosing you. She’ll also check to see if the symptoms keep you from carrying out your normal activities.
Most people with the condition try one or more of these therapies:
- Medication: Many antidepressants can work for anxiety disorders. They include Lexapro and fluoxetine (Prozac). Certain anticonvulsant medicines (typically taken for epilepsy) and low-dose anti-psychotic drugs can be added to help make other treatments work better. Anxiolytics are also drugs that help lower anxiety. Examples are alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin). They’re prescribed for social or generalized anxiety disorder as well as for panic attacks.
- Psychotherapy: This is a type of counseling that addresses the emotional response to mental illness. A mental health specialist helps you by talking about how to understand and deal with your anxiety disorder.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This is a certain type of psychotherapy that teaches you how to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that trigger deep anxiety or panic.
- Cut down on foods and drinks that have caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine is a mood-altering drug, and it may make symptoms of anxiety disorse worse.
- Eat right, exercise, and get better sleep. Brisk aerobic exercises like jogging and biking help release brain chemicals that cut stress and improve your mood.
- Sleep problems and anxiety disorder often go hand in hand. Make getting good rest a priority. Follow a relaxing bedtime routine. Talk to your doctor if you still have trouble sleeping.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter meds or herbal remedies. Many contain chemicals that can make anxiety symptoms worse.
Ten most common symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Profuse sweating
- Unsteadiness or dizziness
- Breathing difficulty
- Abdominal discomfort or nausea
- Chest pain
- Numbness in extremities
- Sensation of imminent death
- Detachment from one’s body
- Fear of going crazy