anxiety disorders. It might be helpful to know the characteristics of each, along with the symptoms, so that you can bring attention to unhealthy patterns of anxiety in you or your loved ones.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive symptoms of anxiety or worry occurring most days for at least six months. If you are diagnosed with GAD, you likely worry about your health, work, school, interpersonal relationships, or everyday interactions.
Worry may also surface as fear. The combination of fear and worry can create significant problems in many areas of your life.
Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder might include:
- becoming easily fatigued
- muscle tension
- difficulties with concentration and focus
- difficulties with controlling worry or fear
- issues with sleep or appetite
Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks are experiences of intense fear. Symptoms are triggered quickly, with peak symptoms reaching in minutes. Panic attacks may or may not have an expected trigger.
An important factor of panic disorder is that you may worry about when your next panic attack will occur. You may try to prevent future panic attacks by avoiding any people, places, or situations that could involve a trigger. You may suffer in many areas of life as you experience unexpected panic attacks alongside working to prevent future attacks from occurring.
Symptoms of panic disorder, and panic attacks, might include:
- racing heartbeat
- difficulties with controlling worry or fear
- shortness of breath
- a feeling of choking
The third category of anxiety-related disorders acknowledges phobias, which are fears of specific objects or situations. The fear causes you to feel extremely inferior to the fearful stimuli. Oftentimes, the fear is out of proportion to the actual threat or danger caused by the specific feared object or situation.
Phobias can be recognized as:
- holding an irrational or otherwise excessive worry about coming face to face with a given object or situation
- taking measures to avoid the fearful object or situation
- experiencing intense anxiety when encountering the fearful object or situation
Some phobia-related disorders include:
- Social anxiety disorder (fear regarding performance or social situations)
- Agoraphobia (fear of tight spaces or certain public activities)
- Separation anxiety disorder (fear of parting from someone, such as a partner, who you are attached to)
What Happens When Anxiety Disorders Go Untreated?
There are significant dangers in leaving anxiety disorders untreated because they are persistent. If you struggle with untreated anxiety disorders you may experience worsening mental disability, reduced ability to work or perform, and increased feelings of depression.
Untreated anxiety disorders can cause long-term health problems, especially cognitive and social dysfunction. Untreated anxiety can also lead to co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or substance use.
It is essential to get the treatment you need if you struggle with anxiety or anxiety-related disorders.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
There are several treatment options for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. One of the most effective forms of treatment is the use of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. Psychotherapy encourages you to talk through your distress with mental health professionals.
For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular treatment intervention that works to challenge intrusive thoughts and other negative thought patterns. CBT will help you to challenge your fear, worry, and anxiety and frame it more realistically.
Many other forms of psychotherapy can help treat anxiety. If anxiety is more fear-based, such as the fear in phobia-related disorders, exposure therapy treatment options exist that are proven to be effective. Exposure therapies expose you to threatening or fearful stimuli gradually through several sessions. Over time, you learn how to challenge your fearful thoughts and no longer avoid threatening stimuli.
Medication options are available if you struggle with anxiety-related disorders. If you or your loved one is struggling with anxiety, reach out to a local treatment facility to learn more about the treatment options that are available for you.
Although anxiety is a common part of life, your may struggle with intense, recurrent experiences of anxiety. There are several different types of anxiety disorders, all are unique in how symptoms present themselves. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of each anxiety disorder to better recognize when they surface in you or your loved one. If anxiety goes untreated, symptoms will likely become more severe over time. Casa Recovery is a private mental health and substance abuse treatment center that specializes in the treatment of many conditions, especially anxiety-related disorders. The facility offers many different treatment programs to help fit your unique needs and goals for treatment. Casa Recovery creates individualized treatment plans and takes pride in providing effective, quality care tailored to your needs. It is important that you get the treatment you need for your anxiety-related symptoms. Contact Casa Recovery for more information by calling (888) 928-2272.