Feeling Anx


An increasing percentage of the global population is being affected by anxiety, making it a ubiquitous and recognizable experience. Anxiety is still not easy to understand. The varying forms of anxiety are treatable and occur along a spectrum from mild to severe. Let us briefly look at several types of anxiety.

Symptoms overlap each type.

GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This type of anxiety is extremely common, and it is persistently at the forefront of one's consciousness. GAD is characterized by worry that is excessive and disproportionate to the presenting situation.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent unwarranted worry

  • Restlessness and difficulty with stillness

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Muscle tension

  • Irritability

  • Sweats (hot or cold)

  • Nervous feelings

  • Digestive issues

Panic Disorder

I tend to describe this one as the “fear of having an anxiety attack”. This person has previously experienced anxiety attacks, and panics about experiencing another.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling ungrounded, without control, during an anxiety attack.

  • Fear of experiencing another attack.

  • Avoidance of people, places and things that trigger this experience.

  • Variable duration of attacks.

  • Physical manifestations: heart palpitations, perspiration, chest pressure, shortness of breath, nausea,

  • light headedness, detached sensation, and tingling or numbness in the fingers or toes.

PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

This anxiety is caused by and rooted in a traumatic event or situation which the person experienced as threatening.

Symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks

  • Intrusive thoughts

  • Nightmares

  • Fearful thoughts

  • Avoidance of people, places and things that trigger memories.

  • Hyper-vigilance

  • Irritability and easily angered.

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Restlessness and difficulty with stillness

  • Difficulty remembering parts of the trauma experience.

  • Guilt or blame

  • Loss of interest in previously interested activities.

Social Anxiety

This form of anxiety seems to be increasing. I believe this trend is due to the growth of social media. Social Anxiety is also a Social Phobia. Some people begin experiencing social anxiety during their teen years.

Symptoms include:

  • Intense worry around others

  • Worry about talking in public.

  • Assumptions of being judged.

  • Extreme self-consciousness in the presence of others

  • Worry about being humiliated, or not being accepted.

  • People pleasing and conflict avoidance behaviors.

  • Sweats (hot or cold)

  • Nausea

  • Nervousness

Separation Anxiety

This form generates intense worrying or anxiety when he/she is away from home, known locations, or away from someone to whom they are strongly attached (excluding infants and toddlers).

Symptoms include:

  • Overwhelming worry or anxiety about something bad happening to a loved one.

  • Fear of being alone.

  • Resistance to sleeping away from home.

  • Nightmares

  • Headaches

  • Stomach issues

  • Anxiety and panic attacks

Specific Phobias

These are fears that exceed what would be appropriate to a presenting situation, such as:

  • Acrophobia (fear of height)

  • Claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces)

  • Aerophobia (fear of flying)

  • Hemophobia (fear of blood)

  • Trypanophobia (fear of needles)

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Treatment options for various types of anxiety include these therapeutic modalities:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • Exposure Therapy

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

  • Mindfulness-based Therapy

  • Psychodynamic Therapy

Medications

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are common and effective treatments for anxiety. These are prescribed by psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Lifestyle adjustments, such as

  • Daily exercise

  • Breathing exercise

  • Meditation

  • Acupuncture

  • Adequate sleep

  • Support System

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