Although anxiety might be unpleasant, it is normal to a certain degree. Anxiety can keep us sharp enough to rise to the occasion, whatever it may be.
However, when everything in your life begins to feel like an emergency or an occasion for dread, then your anxiety has likely gotten out of hand. Excessive anxiety can manifest in one of five anxiety disorders — Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Social Anxiety Disorder – and may require appropriate anxiety disorder treatment to become manageable.
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Here are the five major types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive worry about everyday things, which normally are not a source of constant dread for most other people. For example, you may worry that while walking to work, someone will accidentally knock a heavy object out of a window above, knocking you unconscious. While this event is certainly possible, it is unlikely.
Excessive worry about such a thing is not uncommon for people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You might also experience frequent heart palpitations or unwanted, worrisome thoughts.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder results in repeated, unwanted thoughts and rituals that interfere with everyday living. For example, if you have OCD, you may leave your house worried that you left the stove on. Even after returning to your house three or four times, you will still not be convinced that your stove is in fact off.
Some coping mechanisms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are rituals that will prevent something “bad” from happening, such as washing your hands several times to prevent disease.
Panic Disorder is characterized by panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden waves of terror in which your body may convulse, you may experience difficulty breathing, and you may think you are dying. Panic attacks usually subside after about half an hour, but they can leave you feeling fatigued and unable to continue with your day.
While experiencing a panic attack once or twice in your lifetime is not out of the ordinary, repeated attacks in a week- or month-long period are a sign of Panic Disorder. These acute episodes are not to be confused with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop after you have experienced something out of the ordinary that has “shocked” your world. You may relive this event in the form of daydreams or nightmares, and you may be unable to conduct normal affairs due to the bouts of anger and depression that are often symptoms of PTSD.
The traumatic experience that triggers PTSD may be prompted by a variety of events, such as serving in the military or being the victim of rape or childhood abuse.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder, or social phobia, can leave you unable to leave your house for fear of being judged by others. Not only is it difficult for people with a social phobia to maintain friendships, but it may also be hard to hold down a job, go grocery shopping, or even collect mail from the mailbox. If you have Social Anxiety Disorder, you are constantly worried about what others think of you to the point that you may avoid social interactions altogether.
Anxiety Disorders Treatment
If you find that an anxiety disorder such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Social Anxiety Disorder hampers your ability to lead a productive life, don’t be afraid to seek anxiety disorder treatment from a trained professional. Ninety percent of people with an anxiety disorder find at least some relief after seeking treatment, and you can learn long-term techniques for coping with an anxiety disorder so that it is no longer disruptive to your life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, please call us at (310) 455-5258 or submit the form below to learn more about our treatment programs in Los Angeles.