What are Anxiety Disorders?
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
According to Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, some anxiety symptoms and signs include:
Feeling nervous, tense, or restless
Feeling that there is impending danger, panic, or doom
Having a higher heart rate
Breathing quickly (hyperventilation)
Feeling weak or tired
Having a hard time concentrating or focusing on something other than the ongoing worry
Having a hard time sleeping
Going through gastrointestinal issues
Having a hard time regulating worry
Wanting to avoid situations that cause anxiety
Cold or sweaty hands
Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
Recurring thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic occurrences
Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
Not being able to stay still or claim
Ritualistic behaviors, like washing hands again and again
Some Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: According to the American Psychiatric Association, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) entails ongoing and excessive worry that disrupts daily activities. The persistent worry and anxiety comes with physical symptoms, including restlessness, feeling on edge or easily tired, having a hard time concentrating, muscle tension, or issues sleeping. The worries often have to do with everyday things, including job obligations, family health or small issues like chores, car repairs, or appointments.
Panic Disorder: Cleveland Clinic explains that panic disorder involves getting intense, sudden panic attacks. These panic attacks involve stronger, more intense feelings compared to other types of anxiety disorders. The feelings of fear may begin suddenly and without warning or may be caused by some trigger, such as a situation the person does not like. Panic attacks seem like heart attacks. If you feel you are experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room since it is better to be cautious by seeing a doctor. In a panic attack, a person may go through sweating, heart palpitations (the person feels like their heart is pounding), chest pain, a feeling of choking that may seem like a heart attack or “going crazy.” Panic attacks are incredibly disconcerting and people with panic disorder are usually spending a large amount of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also may attempt to avoid things that can cause an attack.
Phobias and Specific Phobias: Cleveland Clinic says that phobias are strong fear of certain situations or objects. Some fears may seem logical, like fear of snakes, but usually, the level of fear is not proportionate. People may take a large amount of time trying to avoid situations that can trigger the phobia. Specific phobias are an intense fear of a specific object or situation that may lead someone to avoid everyday situations. The object and situation may not be harmful as the American Psychiatric Association explains. The person may know the fear is excessive but they can not control it. Some specific phobias are fear of animals (spiders, dogs, snakes, etc.), blood, flying, heights, and injections.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Cleveland Clinic and the American Psychiatric Association state that this used to be known as social phobia. Social anxiety disorder involves excessive worry and self-consciousness with daily social interactions or extreme anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or disrespected in social interactions. The person is worried others will judge them and they are anxious they will embarrass themselves or be ridiculed. People with social anxiety disorder may completely avoid social situations or go through them with extreme anxiety. The fear or anxiety causes issues with daily functioning and goes on for at least 6 months. Some common fears are fear of public speaking, interacting with new people, or eating or drinking in public.
Agoraphobia: Cleveland Clinic says that if someone has agoraphobia, it often involves having an intense fear of being overwhelmed or not being able to access help. The person usually has a fear of two or more of the following environments: enclosed spaces, lines or crowds, open spaces, places outside the home, and public transportation. In extreme situations, people with agoraphobia may not leave the house ever since they are scared of experiencing a panic attack in public where they may not be able to leave or reach help, so they would rather stay inside.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: Cleveland Clinic and the American Psychiatric Association say, separation anxiety disorder often occurs in children or teens that may be nervous about being away from their parents. Children with separation anxiety disorder may be scared that their parents will get hurt somehow or not return like they promise. This occurs in preschoolers often but older children and adults that go through a stressful event can have separation anxiety disorder too. The person is overly nervous of scared about being separated from the people they are attached to, and the feeling is excessive for what is appropriate for the person’s age, continues, and causes issues in functioning. The person may not want to go out or sleep away from home or without the person they are attached to, or may have nightmares about being separated.
Selective mutism: Mayo Clinic explains that selective mutism is a persisting failure of children to speak or talk in specific situations, like in school, even if they can speak in other situations, like at home or with family. This can disrupt school, work, and functioning in public or with others.
Substance-induced Anxiety Disorder: Mayo Clinic states that substance-induced anxiety disorder has symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are caused by misusing drugs, taking medications, coming into contact with a toxic substance, or withdrawal from drugs.
Anxiety Disorder Because of A Medical Condition: Mayo Clinic says this anxiety disorder has symptoms of strong anxiety or panic that is caused by a physical health issue.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Cleveland Clinic explains how if you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, it is important to discuss them with a healthcare provider, who will likely get a full medical history and physical examination. They may do some lab tests or scans to rule out physical conditions that may cause the symptoms. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional are trained in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They may use specifically designed interviews and assessment tool to determine whether or not you have an anxiety disorder. Mental health professionals often use your reported symptoms, the impact of your symptoms on your life, and their observation of your attitude and behavior to make a diagnosis. It is important to get treatment if you feel you have an anxiety disorder. There is no shame in getting help and it is better to try to treat anxiety early on before it gets worse.
Help your child understand the concept of time by saying what time it is during routine activities. Use and explain words like morning, noon, night, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Make a timeline together showing a typical day, with drawings of regular events and the time of day written beneath each one.
2. “Anxiety Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatments.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9536-anxiety-disorders.
3. “What Are Anxiety Disorders?” Psychiatry.org – What Are Anxiety Disorders?, https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders.