What does someone means when he discusses having panic or anxiety attacks? How do the words “anxiety disorder” fit with these conditions? People frequently mix these terms, but there are a few significant differences to know to properly describe which ailment a person suffers from. All of the categories below have similar features, but there are some identifying features that set them apart. By distinguishing which group your symptoms fit into, you and your caregiver will also be able to better identify what treatment alternatives might be most beneficial for your case. Here are descriptions of the most common anxiety disorders:Treating Anxiety Disorder

Phobias are the most common of the anxiety disorders. A phobia is a  fear of a certain object or event. People may have fear of flying, or fear of heights, fear of closed places, or fear of snakes. Fancy names describe various phobias, such as the fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia and the fear of the number 13, known as triskaidekaphobia. These fears are often irrational and may interfere with normal daily-life for the patients who suffer.

Panic disorder is one class of the anxiety disorders. People who suffer panic attacks often come into a situation and suddenly go through symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, vertigo, sweating, and a racing heart. Although there is not an actual threat present, the person may feel like they are going to die. Because someone suffering from a panic attack does not always recognize it as such, emergency rooms see patients who think they may be having a heart attack. When heart attacks are eliminated, the patients depart thinking that the trouble is all in their head, when in truth, they do have a real medical condition that can be curable.

Social anxiety disorder is when a person is afraid of being mortified in a public setting. These settings can include  speechmaking opportunity or something as innocent as just eating at a public restaurant. People who suffer from social phobia are troubled about being falsely judged, critiqued, or laughed at of by other people. They may spend hours or days expecting humiliation and may even avoid public events totally. Some of the physical symptoms they may have include upset stomach, diarrhea, aggravated flushing, profuse perspiration, and shaking. As the patient becomes aware of these symptoms, the symptoms are amplified which leads to multiplied symptoms in a downward spiral that “proves” to the sufferer that he should have never left in the first place-a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a circumstance where a patient perpetually worries about two or more items in their life and where he feels persistent tenseness in life. The center of worry can be one or more of the following: familial relationships, work, physical well-being, or financial status. This goes well beyond the normal measure of stress people often feel in their lives concerning these areas. Some of the physical symptoms that might be experienced are: dizziness, nausea, racing heart, extreme fatique, inability to sleep, and sore muscles.

Post-traumatic stress disorder may develop when a person goes through a painful event in their life. We hear of many PTSD cases among members of the armed services  who return from war zones and fields of battle. Victims of natural disasters, people who witness horrifying deaths or crimes, or rape victims are all potential post-traumatic candidates. The biggest symptom of someone with post-traumatic stress disorder is that they perpetually relive the episode they went through that set off the PTSD in the first place. These memories can happen during the  night or they may take place abruptly at any point during the day. Oftentimes there is a specific event that initiates remembering, even if the affected person is not fully aware of that event and what is going on. Symptoms of this disorder include reflexive startle movements, continual cognizance of the surrounding areas, inability to rest, and sometimes even flare-ups of hostile conduct.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is the last category in the anxiety disorders. People with this disorder suffer from constant fear regarding a situation that compels that to act in a way that negates or wipes out the situation. For instance, someone who is terrorized of germs may wash their hands repeatedly, even to the point of having  cracked, dry skin. The obsessive part of the name comes from the incessant thoughts carried by the patient. The compulsive part is the process they engage in to address their thoughts.

As you can see from these brief descriptions, there are some obvious differences between the listed groups. The differences are found in symptoms presented, the components surrounding the beginning of the disorder, and the behaviors displayed once an episode begins. By working with all of these factors, you can pinpoint which category of anxiety disorders fits you best. Once that recognition is established, you can go on to discovering a suitable treatment program.

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