Fear is an inseparable element of human life, into which it is in a way inscribed. It is the body’s response to a threat, a kind of warning signal that helps to avoid dangers. Anxiety is also the most common psychopathological symptom. If it occurs frequently and interferes with normal functioning, then it is said to have an anxiety disorder. What are the types of anxiety disorders and how are they treated? Check!
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders. It is suspected that even 15-20% of the population suffer from them, although exact statistics are not known. They occur in all people regardless of age.
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders in the course of which there is a significant sense of anxiety or fear. Fear is the result of worrying about future events, while fear is a reaction to current events. With both anxiety and fear, there can be a number of undesirable physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, excessive sweating, and convulsions.
Causes of anxiety disorders
The causes of anxiety disorders are diverse. Most often it is a combination of many factors, mainly such as:
- genetic conditions (mental disorders in the family),
- physical health problems (occurrence of somatic diseases),
- stressful events (e.g. a traffic accident),
- personality (certain features may predispose to excessive anxiety),
- taking psychoactive substances.
Types of anxiety disorders
There are many different anxiety disorders. The most common ones are described below.
The word phobia comes from the Greek language and means fear, fear. Depending on what the disorder concerns, an appropriate prefix is added in front of it. There are phobias towards animals, i.e. zoophobia (e.g. arachnophobia – fear of spiders), natural environment (e.g. nyctophobia – fear of the dark), everyday life situations (e.g. claustrophobia – fear of closed rooms), health (e.g. trypanophobia) – fear of injections) and others, e.g. amatophobia, i.e. fear of dust. Social phobia is also possible, where you feel the drug in situations where you can be judged by others. The cause of fear is fear of criticism or humiliation.
2. Generalized anxiety disorder
It is characterized by constant anxiety that is unrealistic, exaggerated and unjustified. There are no situational or logical grounds that could create a risk of a fearful tragedy.
People with generalized anxiety disorder are constantly worried about what might happen.
3. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Characteristic of this disorder is the repeated occurrence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are recurring, compulsive thoughts that cannot be controlled, while compulsions are repetitive behavior that helps to relieve the tension caused by obsessions.
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder
It occurs as a result of a strong, violent, traumatic event (e.g. war, road accident) in which there is a threat to health or life. It can also refer to an emotional trauma that lasted longer, e.g. in the past or in childhood.
Anxiety disorders - symptoms
The symptoms of anxiety disorders are very individual, so they may be different for everyone. However, it is possible to indicate some symptoms that most often occur in the case of specific disorders:
- phobic symptoms – avoiding things, places or situations that provoke anxiety, fast heart beat, shortness of breath, feeling faint, cold sweat;
- symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder – constant feeling of tension or tension, easy fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, increased muscle tension, trouble sleeping;
- symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder – obsessions and compulsions;
- symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder – severe anxiety, depressed mood, sleep problems or insomnia, nightmares, fatigue, recurring images of a traumatic event, eating problems, irritability, aggression, eating disorders.
Treatment of anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders usually make it difficult to function normally and therefore require treatment. A psychologist can help if you are constantly feeling anxious. Professional psychological help should help a patient suffering from anxiety disorders to control anxiety and prevent its recurrence.
Therapy with a psychologist is one of the most popular and, at the same time, the most effective method of treating various types of anxiety disorders. Various methods are used in its course, e.g. cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychoeducation. It all depends on the patient’s condition and expectations regarding treatment. In more serious cases, when psychological therapy does not bring the expected results in the treatment of anxiety disorders, pharmacotherapy is used.
Read more: Treatment of anxiety