It is not unusual for many of us to experience anxiety from time to time, particularly during or in anticipation of an important event. However, if the symptoms of anxiety seem to appear for no reason, get worse, or don’t go away, you may have one of several distinct types of anxiety disorders. Learning the symptoms of common anxiety disorders can help you recognize whether you need to schedule an assessment with a mental health professional.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If you experience strong ongoing feelings of worry, or some of the following anxiety disorder symptoms for 6 months or more, you may have generalized anxiety disorder, particularly if the symptoms have become so severe that they interfere with your daily life.
- Muscle tension
- Feeling on edge
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent or constant worrying
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
A panic attack is a sudden feeling of overwhelming fear that begins unexpectedly or is triggered by an object, person, or event. During a panic attack, you may feel out of control, unable to recognize reality, or have a sense that something horrible is about to happen. You may also tremble, sweat, have heart palpitations or increased heart rate, feel dizzy, or have trouble breathing. A nervous or upset stomach is also common.
Panic Disorder occurs when a person has recurring panic attacks and changes their regular behavior to avoid potential triggers, which interferes with their normal lives. For example, avoiding grocery shopping because of the crowds or missing school the day of a test.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is typically caused by a traumatic event such as abuse, war, hostage situation, or natural disaster. It can cause a person to have intense nightmares or flashbacks, or become easily startled. It can also manifest as depression, anger, irritability, or numbing of emotions.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety occurs when a person is exposed to unfamiliar faces, required to participate in performances or presentations, or any situation in which they feel they may become embarrassed or put on the spot. They fear judgment and unwanted attention, and experience extreme stress or avoid the situation altogether.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The most easily recognized symptom of OCD is an uncontrollable need to perform specific rituals or repetitive behaviors. This is often joked about in reference to quirky habits, but in reality, it is an intrusive and overwhelming thought pattern that is difficult or impossible to control without medical help.
A phobia is a specific fear so intense that it appears irrational and causes a person to avoid it completely. For example, a phobia of drowning may cause a person to avoid all types of swimming, even in shallow water.
Where to Find Help
Desert Parkway is a Smart Recovery provider that helps people recover from all types of addictive behaviors, including alcoholism, drug abuse, substance abuse, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, cocaine addiction, and addiction to other substances and activities.