Understanding the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

By March 10, 2021February 22nd, 2024Mental Health
Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Occasional nerves and worry are an expected part of daily life—no one is safe from feeling the sting of anxiety at some point or another. Feeling nervous before taking a test, when faced with a problem at work, or before making an important decision is a normal response to situations your body interprets as a threat. This type of stress can actually be helpful to us as it gives us clues about our environment and makes us pay attention. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, involve more than temporary or situational worry or fear. You may know that you are dealing with anxiety, and your awareness of different types of anxiety disorders may lead you to ask, “What is the name for what I’m feeling?”

Read on for descriptions of the different types of anxiety disorders you may be facing. 

Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

As the most common mental health challenge in the United States, anxiety disorders affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. 

Symptoms of anxiety disorders can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school, work, and relationships. It can prevent us from doing everyday activities when feelings of intense fear, worry, and distress become overwhelming.

In the English language, anxiety is both a synonym for excitement and fear. Knowing the wide range of emotions that correlate with this one word, it’s understandable that the different types of anxiety disorders span just as wide:

What Do They Share In Common?

While some of these disorders may seem unrelated, there is actually a very important theme that exists in all of them: avoidance. 

The different names of these disorders, more than anything, describe your body’s way of reacting (or avoiding) the stress of your environment or the fears you have inside. Those with GAD spend their days in endless worry, those with OCD feel compelled to manage their anxiety through certain behavioral tics, and those with social anxiety retreat inward, avoiding public places at all costs. Even those with a panic disorder typically develop a co-occurring agoraphobia as they dread the thought of an attack occurring in public. 

Although many people recognize PTSD as belonging to a mental health classification all of its own, it does truly belong with the other anxiety disorders. PTSD occurs when individuals are survivors of violence, horrific scenes of war or death, or threats to their life experienced themselves or secondhand. The symptoms that develop cause the person to continually relive the past, whether they’re awake or asleep, and robs them of a sense of safety. We see the same avoidance mechanisms kick in when those with diagnosable cases of PTSD will go to any length to avoid any triggers that set the scene for their trauma to replay. 

Anxiety and Alcohol

Not surprisingly, many people who face constant or severe anxiety often stumble upon a tool that greatly aids in their avoidance: alcohol. The relationship with alcohol or other drugs often takes on a life of its own, as it quickly becomes their go-to coping mechanism to escape from the painful experience of anxiety. Without addressing both the anxiety-avoidance cycle and the resulting use of alcohol or drugs treatment is less likely to be effective. 

What Is The Treatment For Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders?

Thankfully science has come a long way, and anxiety disorders and co-occurring addictions are treatable with several effective treatments available. The first step is to make sure there is no other physical problem causing the symptoms. A mental health professional can work with you on the best treatment in the case that they diagnose you with an anxiety disorder.

No matter the specific anxiety disorder that you face, there are several things you can do to help cope with symptoms in a more helpful way to make treatment more effective. Stress management techniques and meditation can be helpful to alleviate some symptoms. Support groups can also provide an opportunity to share experiences and coping strategies. 

Anxiety disorders are generally treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, when there is a pattern of addiction in the mix, individuals do well to consider anxiety treatment that does not cause further reliance on avoidance strategies (hint: even prescribed medication can further contribute to patterns of addiction rather than healing).

Here at Villa Kali Ma, we work to heal women from the effects of addictions and the underlying emotional intolerance that fuels the avoidance cycle. 

We invite you to share yourself in your own time when you are ready. Know that you are welcome to unfold your imperfections and vulnerabilities in a safe space free of judgment, condemnation, rejection, and ridicule. At Villa Kali Ma, you will be welcomed and cared for with the respect, love, and dignity you deserve.

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