Anxiety is a widespread problem throughout the United States and can affect anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, or background. It can be very debilitating, making it hard for people to get through the day. Anxiety can even hold them back from accomplishing their hopes and dreams.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.”
Luckily, in recent years, awareness about anxiety has been heightened, and people living with it can be assured that they are not alone and that treatment is available. It's important to note that everyone's experience with anxiety is different. In fact, there are many different kinds of anxiety disorders, and they may exhibit themselves in different ways. It's essential to be able to differentiate between these different types.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Someone who struggles with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experiences excessive worry on a day-to-day basis. They are constantly plagued with fear and nervousness, which can interfere with their ability to function. It can even take a toll on their physical health by making it difficult for them to eat and sleep.
They may struggle with shaking hands, have trouble concentrating, always feel tired, and be unable to relax and enjoy themselves. Someone with GAD may worry about money, potential health problems, losing a loved one someday, or making someone they care about angry with them. Many times, these fears are beyond the point of rationality, but they still follow the individual around like a cloud floating over their head.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Someone who struggles with a social anxiety disorder has an intense fear of social situations. They may dread things like public speaking, meeting new people, or having to eat or drink in public. Someone with a social anxiety disorder is often afraid that they will embarrass themselves in front of others or be rejected or made fun of.
This fear can be so intense that they avoid things they know they would enjoy because of the social aspect associated with them. Someone with this type of disorder may even fear simple things that others barely think about, like calling to order a pizza or scheduling a doctor's appointment for themselves. This can cause them to miss out on a lot of experiences.
What Is Panic Disorder?
Someone who struggles with a panic disorder deals with such intense anxiety that they often have panic attacks. A panic attack is a debilitating experience that affects both the body and the mind. It can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours. Some of the most common symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Increased heart rate
- Cheat pain
- Heart palpitations
- Trouble breathing
- An inability to get comfortable
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling lightheaded
- Feeling numb
- Having concerns about dying
- Feeling helpless
What Is Agoraphobia?
People who struggle with agoraphobia experience an intense fear of not being able to escape certain situations. For example, they may be afraid of being stuck in a tight space, being stuck in a crowd of people, riding in an elevator, being outside of their home, or being in a wide open space with no boundaries. This type of anxiety can be very debilitating and can cause an individual to not want to leave their house at all. Often, their fears are not rational, yet they cannot dismiss them.
How Is Anxiety Treated?
It's important to treat anxiety as soon as possible. This is because when someone struggles with this over time, they may begin to develop severe depression and suicidal thoughts. In addition, they may try to self-medicate by engaging in substance misuse in order to dull the pain. This can quickly turn into an addiction.
If you think you're struggling with anxiety, the first thing that you should do is speak with your primary care provider. They can help provide you with a diagnosis and help you start treatment.
Many people find relief by working with a therapist. They can help you identify your triggers and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Other people may be prescribed medication that they will take daily to help lessen their symptoms. Treatment can dramatically improve a person's overall quality of life and can make them better able to tackle any stressful situations that come their way.
You can also do things on your own to reduce your anxiety. A few examples include:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Eating healthy meals
- Fitting exercise into your daily life
- Getting out into nature
- Practicing meditation
- Taking a break from technology
Many people across the country struggle with anxiety. It can affect anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, or background. It can be very debilitating and make it hard for people to get through the day. Some of the main types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. Each person's experience with anxiety is different. Luckily, there are treatment options available. Some people find relief through working with a therapist. Others may be prescribed medication to help alleviate their symptoms. Treatment for anxiety can dramatically improve one's quality of life. It's important to seek professional help instead of trying to self-medicate through substance misuse, which can lead to addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more about the types of services we provide.