Anxiety is often referred to as nervousness in our culture, but anxiety runs a deeper gamut of symptoms and can be excruciatingly debilitating if not diagnosed and treated properly. This is not a simple illness to diagnose as there is no physical test notifying you that you have a crippling form of anxiety or not. Anxiety is recognized by physical and mental symptoms, but they cannot be measured in a test. The mental disease is rather diagnosed through qualitative questioning by a trained psychiatrist or psychologist.
Before you and your doctor can tackle your anxiety, you need to understand the type of anxiety you experience. There are generally seven types of anxiety a doctor can identify:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
As the name suggests, this is the most common type of anxiety disorder. This form of anxiety is when you are constantly feeling stress, tension and nervousness. There is no specific situation or event which induces anxiety. It is rather continuously felt without any cause.
When you are working for an organization that is slashing jobs, you may fear losing your employment. This is a normal reaction. Panic disorder is more severe. It is when you feel a sense of doom, which completely incapacitates you from taking action. These thoughts may be triggered easily and you feel something terrible will happen to you without any justification.
A phobia is the non-rational fear of a specific animal, object or situation. A person may feel intense terror when facing the object of their phobia. They believe a catastrophe will strike them. People with phobias will do everything possible to avoid being in a situation where they have to confront their fear. A few phobias are so debilitating, they have been classified separately as different types of anxiety.
Usually adults feel some nervousness when speaking at a public event or experience a little shyness when meeting office colleagues at a new job. This type of discomfort is normal, but when you have an extreme fear of social settings that disturbs your life to an extensive degree, you may be diagnosed with social phobia.
The type of anxiety you feel if you are afraid of being in certain situations is classified as agoraphobia. This involves being fearful of being in an unfamiliar setting or in open spaces. Adults who have agroraphobia may not be able to go to out for groceries or to the office. Any experience may ground them with such an extreme fear, they may never wander outside their house.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is among the specific types of anxiety that may cripple a person mentally. It occurs when a person has unhealthy obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are when the person’s thoughts are paralyzed with a single idea. They cannot get past it and lead an average life. Compulsions are action based and the person has an urge to repeat an action continuously.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder developed after people go through a psychological or physical traumatizing event (severe illness, war, accident, losing a loved one). Those affected with PTSD have a difficult time forgetting the traumatic event and may experience flashbacks. They have a hard time relaxing and their emotional balance is out of whack.