Anxiety: Types and Treatments
Anxiety is considered a “normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times,” according to WebMD. However, when the anxiety symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to live normally, he or she is considered to have an anxiety disorder. There are several different disorders used to describe the different types of anxiety. Anxiety treatments are based on the disorder a person suffers from.
Types of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are considered to be mental illnesses. Several different disorders are encompassed in the “anxiety disorder” realm. These disorders include:
- Panic disorder – a person with panic disorder may experience feelings of terror or doom that occur suddenly and for no apparent reason. During a panic attack the patient will experience chest pain, profuse sweating, heart palpitations and difficulty breathing.
- OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder – A person is diagnosed with OCD when he or she has an overwhelming desire to perform rituals or routines that, when disrupted, interfere with the person’s ability to continue throughout the day. People with compulsions, such as those who frequently wash their hands due to an overwhelming fear of germs are also included in this group.
- PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder – occurs following a traumatic life event. Events that can cause PTSD can range from surviving a natural disaster to serving in a war or surviving a physical or sexual assault.
- Social anxiety – people with social phobias or social anxiety disorder will have extreme symptoms of anxiety in social situations. The root cause for the anxiety is often a fear of being judged by other people.
- Generalized anxiety disorder – these people suffer from extreme anxiety and unrealistic worry, especially when there is no reason for the person to worry.
A person’s symptoms of anxiety depend upon the type of anxiety disorder he or she has. Most often, symptoms include:
- Panic or fear
- Obsessive thoughts and actions that are uncontrollable
- Flashbacks to a traumatic experience
- Nightmares or night terrors
- Ritualistic behaviors
- Profuse sweating, including the hands and feet
- Dyspnea or difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Dry mouth
There are many different treatments available for anxiety disorders. The first treatment is medications. Medications are designed to decrease the anxiety that a person is feeling as well as treat underlying depression.
Psychotherapy or counseling for the person who is suffering from an anxiety disorder is designed to assist the anxiety sufferer with understanding why he or she is experiencing anxiety as well as help him or her deal with the anxiety disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another type of therapy that is designed to “reprogram” the defective thinking in a person. Anxiety sufferers should not eat or drink food items that contain caffeine. Sometimes a person with anxiety can also learn relaxation therapy and get relaxing massages to help curb their anxiety.
Anxiety disorders occur when a person has extreme anxiety that interferes with the activities of daily living. Fortunately for these people, there is anxiety help. Medications, counseling, a good diet and relaxation techniques are excellent ways to help the person who suffers from anxiety find a bit of calm in life.