What is Anxiety?
I was recently asked to present and discuss the different types of anxiety. It is important to note that anxiety is a normal feeling that we should experience. For example, before an exam or interview or first date you may experience a temporary feeling of worry or fear, which eventually goes away. However, anxiety can be something to worry about if it is more than temporary worry and fear.
There are 5 common anxiety disorders
- General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Social Anxiety
- Panic Disorder
Below is a further summary of each disorder.
- General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – Excessively worrying about a variety of things on most days for at least 6+ months. Most of the time there is little or no reason for the intense feelings
- Phobias – Excessive fear of certain situations or things, such as heights or flying. Persistent fear of a specific activity or object that is generally not harmful
- Social Anxiety – Extreme discomfort in social situations, such as going to events, performing, public speaking, or talking to someone new. Worry a lot about being judged, appearance, etc. People with this disorder will try to avoid social situations
- Agoraphobia – Fears getting out into the world because one gets scared they cannot escape a place. Such as being in a crowd, public transportation, like bus or plane
- Panic Disorder – Sudden panic attacks caused for no clear reason. One may experience sweating, shortness of breath, racing heart, and/or dizziness
Once again, while some anxiety is a common experience, it can be considered a problem or disorder when it is recurrent, persistent, and interferes with basic life tasks such as work.
Everyone’s experience of anxiety is different. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms.