If you know you’re suffering from anxiety, you’re on the right path to helping yourself. By understanding you have an issue you may need help with, you’ll be better equipped to find a solution that makes you feel better.
But to find the best solutions or treatments for your situation, you need to find out the type of anxiety disorders there are. That’s important because the different anxiety types don’t all respond to the same treatment or self-help methods.
That’s one of those things to remember if you love a person with anxiety -- what works for other people with a panic issue may not work for them. That could be because they have different types of anxiety disorders.
How Many Types of Anxiety Are There?
You might be struggling to find out what does anxiety mean -- although there is a broad list of symptoms, you may not experience them all. You might also be wondering if you actually suffer from it if your triggers and symptoms are different from other people’s.
Your experience might not be the same, because you could be suffering from another type compared to someone else. If you’re looking for a label for your panic attacks, there are five main kinds of anxiety that could be to blame. Knowing which one you have could let you figure out how to reduce anxiety. Pinpointing your type of issues could also help you avoid habits that make anxiety worse.
Here are the main types:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
- Social anxiety disorder or social phobia.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
With this type, the sufferer may experience extreme worry, even though there appear to be no concrete causes for it. It will feel like you are always expecting the worst thing to happen to you, even if there is no reason to think like that. Perhaps you experience excessive worry about your health, even though you’ve never had a serious medical problem.
Some of the common causes of this type of disorder are brain chemistry, genetics, and environmental triggers like trauma. If brain chemistry issues are at play here, you might experience some relief with psychotherapies, medications, and other kinds of treatments.
You might want to contact a health professional to see how they can help.
Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia
What causes anxiety with this type of issue? You might fall apart at the idea of going to a social event or talking with strangers. Social situations that seem to be enjoyable for others, like a few minutes of chatting with someone you don’t know or going on a first date, can leave you reeling. If you have this kind of phobia, you might take some comfort in knowing that it’s common.
The symptoms you can experience from it can be intense though, depending on your level of fear. You could feel dizzy and lightheaded. Catching your breath might be difficult, and your heart rate can skyrocket. You might start to wonder: Can anxiety kill you? It won’t, but it can sure feel like it.
If you find yourself worrying about things excessively, and performing repetitive behaviors to deal with that anxiety, you might be suffering from OCD. Your fears about intruders, for instance, might cause you to check to see if your doors and windows are locked repeatedly before bedtime.
You might have a fear of things being messy or being afraid of dirt or germs. That can lead to compulsive behaviors, such as excessive hand washing or cleaning.
This condition often manifests when you’re a teenager or in your 20s. How severe the condition is may vary with your stress levels and as you age. Why it happens to some people and not others isn’t fully understood. Some scientists believe it is caused by genetics, biology, or environmental factors, or perhaps even a combination of these reasons.
With this type of problem, you’re prone to panic attacks, even when there is no apparent reason to be. You’ll experience signs like chest pain, dizziness, sweating, shaking, and worries about dying.
You can have panic attacks and still not suffer from this disorder though. It’s when the attacks are reoccurring and seem to come out of the blue that you may begin to suspect a disorder rather than just random attacks.
While you can seek therapy and medication for this kind of disorder, you may also find that self-soothing measures can help you while you’re experiencing a panic attack. Things like weighted blankets for anxiety and insomnia can help you take the edge off of an episode.
Some sufferers of panic attacks find weighted blankets soothing. They may help them get to sleep faster or calm down enough that they don’t suffer from as much insomnia.
If you decide to give weighted blankets a try, opt for one that weighs roughly 10 percent of your body weight so it’s not too heavy or too light.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
As the name implies, trauma is at the heart of this disorder. Usually, a person suffering from this has faced the possibility of serious harm or death. Some examples include fighting in the military during a war, being the victim of sexual or physical abuse, being in a serious accident, or surviving a natural disaster.
Physical symptoms can include feeling numb emotionally, having the need to stay away from people or places that cause the trauma to resurface, sleep issues, and feelings of rage.
Learn As Much As You Can
When you’re facing an enemy, it’s best to know as much as you can about them. That will help you win your battle.
With anxiety, your mind becomes your enemy. Fortunately, it can also become one of your best allies. By learning which disorder you have and what your triggers are, you’ll be able to get a better handle on your issue.
Just remember you’re not in this alone -- lean on your friends, family, and team of professionals so you can get the help you need.