Imagine you are experiencing a feeling of unease and anxiousness. You might be wondering what type of anxiety you’re facing. Is it something mild that can be managed on your own, or is it more serious?
Stress and anxiety are feelings that we all get from time to time. Anxiety is a biological response to conditions that require us to be alert and quick thinking. When we get anxious, our hearts beat faster, our eyes get wider, and we brace ourselves for whatever may be coming our way.
An anxiety disorder, however, is when a person continuously braces themselves for something that isn’t really there. Anxiety disorders keep a person in a constant state of stress, even when they aren’t in any danger. This persistent state of mental and physical tension, over time, can be disastrous for a person’s physical and mental health.
The good news is, whether you struggle with mild anxiety or more serious anxiety that’s affecting your day-to-day life, the process of treating anxiety disorders is well established. There are many ways to reduce anxiety, manage anxiety, and treat anxiety and other intense feelings and behavioral patterns that go hand in hand with stress.
In this article, we’ll review different types of anxiety disorders, go over the different sorts of anxiety a person can face at different points throughout their life, and ultimately look at ways of treating crippling anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Before diving into the different types of anxiety, it’s essential to understand what exactly anxiety is. Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It’s an unpleasant feeling of fear and worry that can range from mild to severe. It’s your body’s natural response to stress or a perceived threat, and it can be healthy when it motivates you to take action and solve problems.
Anxiety on its own is not indicative of a mental health issue or mental illness, however, when it begins to interfere with daily tasks and doesn’t allow you to participate fully in your life, it can be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
How Do You Know You’re Experiencing Anxiety?
Anxiety symptoms can range from mild to severe and include physical, emotional, and cognitive responses. Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling tense or on edge
- Racing thoughts
- Trouble concentrating
- Restlessness or irritability
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rapid heart rate
- Stomach problems or nausea
- Feeling overly worried or fearful
These feelings are normal in moments of stress, but if they persist for an extended period of time and start to interfere with your everyday life, you should seek help from a mental health professional.
How Do You Know You’re Experiencing An Anxiety Disorder?
An anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. Marked by persistent symptoms for over six months, an anxiety disorder is often the result of both genetic and environmental factors. Debilitating anxiety is indicative of an anxiety disorder.
Types of Anxiety from Mild to Crippling Anxiety
Now let’s take a look at the range of severity of anxiety a person can experience.
Mild anxiety is often related to everyday stress and worries, such as an upcoming exam or job interview. Symptoms can include feeling tense or on edge, racing thoughts, trouble concentrating, restlessness or irritability, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are typically manageable with relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes.
Everyone experiences mild anxiety at some point. This type of anxiety is short-lived and usually triggered by a particular event, like an upcoming job interview or the first day of school. Mild anxiety can make it difficult to focus and may cause you to feel edgy or irritable, but it is usually manageable.
Moderate anxiety is more intense than mild anxiety and can interfere with your daily life. It may cause you to avoid certain activities and startle easily, resulting in physical symptoms. Symptoms of moderate anxiety can range from mild to severe and may include shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea, a rapid heart rate, chest pain, and feeling overly worried or fearful.
This type of anxiety is typically triggered by a stressful event or situation and can be treated with relaxation techniques, lifestyle changes, and therapy.
Severe or Crippling Anxiety
Severe or crippling anxiety can interfere with your everyday life. Many describe severe anxiety symptoms as feeling overwhelmed with fear, experiencing intense panic attacks, having trouble sleeping, and even causing them to avoid certain activities or situations. Debilitating anxiety can manifest chronically, as well as in mild or severe episodes, include severe symptoms, and may include any of the symptoms listed above.
This type of anxiety is often triggered by a traumatic event or situation and can be treated with medications, therapy, lifestyle changes, and relaxation techniques. However, it is essential to seek help from a mental health professional if you feel that the emotional and physical symptoms of your anxiety are becoming unmanageable.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Now let’s take a look at a few of the most common types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized anxiety disorder is marked by persistent and excessive worrying that interferes with everyday life. It can be hard to control and may cause physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and insomnia. GAD can also lead to feelings of restlessness and irritability.
Panic disorder manifests as intense fear or terror that may come on suddenly and reach a peak within minutes. It is characterized by sudden physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, trembling, and heart palpitations. Panic attacks can be incredibly frightening and may cause you to feel like you’re in danger. However, most of the time, the symptoms are not dangerous and will pass.
A phobia is an extreme fear of a particular object or situation. This type of anxiety can be disabling, as the person may go to extreme lengths to avoid the feared object or situation. Common phobias include fear of heights, spiders, and needles.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is marked by deep discomfort and anxiety in social situations. People with this disorder may fear being judged or embarrassed in front of others and may go to great lengths to avoid social situations. Symptoms can include racing thoughts, excessive sweating, nausea, trembling, and difficulty making eye contact.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that interfere with daily life. People with OCD may find themselves engaging in rituals such as counting, repeating specific phrases, or repeatedly washing their hands. This type of anxiety can be incredibly disabling and difficult to control.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event, such as war, natural disasters, car accidents, or physical and emotional abuse. It can cause sleep disturbances, flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, and hyper-vigilance.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, it is crucial to speak with a medical professional as soon as possible. Your doctor can help diagnose the type of anxiety disorder you’re experiencing and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Treatment for Mild to Crippling Anxiety
Within these different types of anxiety, it’s essential to understand that everyone experiences anxiety differently, and it affects each person in different ways. Any one of these diagnoses could be considered “crippling anxiety” if symptoms become debilitating. No matter if your anxiety is fleeting anxiety or crippling anxiety, it is crucial to recognize the symptoms and seek help if your stress and anxiety become unmanageable.
Thankfully, there are several courses of treatment available for all types of anxiety. Mild to moderate cases of anxiety can often be managed with lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding substances like alcohol or drugs.
Mindfulness-based therapies such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi can also be helpful in managing mild to moderate anxiety. For cases of debilitating anxiety, treatment options are different.
For more cases of crippling anxiety where the stress is taking a persistent and constant mental and physical toll on a person, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective treatment. CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people learn to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to their anxiety.
Other treatments such as talk therapy, exposure therapy, support groups, and self-care practices like journaling can also be beneficial for those struggling with severe, debilitating anxiety. Certain medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, as well as alternative treatments like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and IV ketamine therapy, can be helpful in treating a severe anxiety disorder.
No matter what type of anxiety you are experiencing, it is important to recognize the symptoms and seek help if your worry is becoming unmanageable. A combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and relaxation techniques can help you manage your anxiety and reclaim your life.
It is essential to seek professional help from a psychiatrist if you feel that your stress has turned into crippling anxiety and become unmanageable. With the proper treatment, you can take control of an anxiety disorder or mental illness and live a happier and healthier life.
At Neuro Wellness Spa, our goal is to help people identify and treat their anxiety in a safe and supportive environment. Anxiety can feel overwhelming and crippling, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. With the right support and treatment from our expert psychiatrists that specialize in anxiety, you can reclaim your mental health and live a more fulfilling life. Contact us today to learn more about our anxiety treatment options.