Anxiety disorders are and include several disorders that occur along with other mental and physical conditions.
They include panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), social phobia/anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
Here are their causes, symptoms and characteristics.
Post traumatic disorder. Develops in a person who experienced a horrifying ordeal. Such an ordeal involves physical harm or threat to physical harm. The experience is not always one that was direct; it could be one that happened to family, strangers or friends. Such traumatizing ordeals include car accidents, plane crashes, bombings, genocides, earthquakes and kidnappings. Signs and symptoms of post traumatic disorders include loss of interest in something the person liked to take part, unusual aggressiveness, violence, irritability and being unaffectionate. The person could also suffer depression, substance abuse or other anxiety disorders. Post traumatic disorder is relived through flashbacks. The person has a ‘deja vu’ moment where they see their experience all over again, either in sleep or during daytime. Manifestation of post traumatic disorder occurs within three months of the traumatic experience. This condition varies with individuals, with others taking more than a year to manifest. Recovery also varies with others recovering within 6 months.
Panic disorders. These are manifested through sudden attacks of terror that leaves the patient sweating, weak, fainted or dizzy and the heart pounding. Panic attacks usually begin in early adulthood. A panic disorder is also accompanied by depression and substance abuse. The patient tends to have an unexplained fear of surroundings or situations. They can occur at any time and usually last for about 10 minutes. Panic disorders are treatable and much easier if discovered early. If the fear of surroundings aggravates, it is referred to as agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. This is where the patient cannot confront the feared situation, such as being outside the confinements of house walls, without having an accomplice.
Social phobia. This is also called social anxiety disorder. This is where the patient is overwhelmed with anxiety and self-consciousness. The patient has a chronic fear of being watched and judged by others. The tragedy with this disorder is that the patient knows their fears are unreasonable but cannot overcome them. They can worry for weeks anticipating a social situation, worry all while in the social setting and then again, after. Signs and symptoms of social phobia include sweating profusely, nausea, difficulty in talking and blushing. This disorder is also accompanied by other anxiety disorders. It is treatable though.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is where the patient has persistent upsetting obsessions and in the pursuit of controlling them, they use compulsions which end up controlling them. The patient may have an obsession with numbers such that they count everything to their favorite number several times. An obsessive compulsive disorder usually develops in childhood or early adulthood. This condition could be inherited from parents. It does interfere with the normal with the daily life of the patient and leaves them depressed.
Generalized anxiety disorders. This is where the patient has exaggerated tension and worry even though there is nothing to provoke the tension. They worry about daily routines and activities that happen in their lives. One is considered a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) patient if the worrying is over 6 months. Signs and symptoms include fatigue, difficulty in concentration, irritability, nausea, twitching and hot flashes. Generalized anxiety disorder can develop at any stage of life. It is also accompanied with other anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse. It is also treatable.
Specific phobias. This is where the patient has an intense, irrational fear of something. The patient fears things such as height, flying, snakes or driving. The specific phobias manifest in childhood and early adolescence, and can persist into adulthood.
If you think you know a person who has anxiety disorder, consult a doctor and encourage them to join you to be diagnosed. Your medical physician will identify the disorder and recommend you or who has the disorder, to a mental health professional.