Different Types Of Anxiety
By Claire (The Millennial Londoner) Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is purely for informational purposes compiled from personal experience and reputable sources. If you require any health advice please speak to a medical specialist. This blog also contains affiliate links that allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. If you have ever experienced nervousness while doing a presentation, hyperventilated or feel nauseated at the sight of a rodent then you may be suffering from anxiety. Over the years I have faced almost every type of anxiety disorder there is and yet somehow believed it was all just one disorder. Here is a list of the different types of anxiety. 1. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Generalized Anxiety Disorders are the most common type of anxiety and can be irritating to deal with on a daily basis but they can be manageable. It's the everyday anxiety that might make you feel slightly off/unwell or where you find yourself feeling nervous without knowing why. You will experience a bunch of these symptoms with generalised anxiety; Clammy hands/ sweating Stomach upset Trouble falling/ staying asleep Constant worrying/ dreading things Difficulty concentrating Headaches Being snappy/ irritable 2. Social Anxiety/ Social Phobia Social phobia's (A.K.A social anxiety) is another common type of anxiety you're going to see quite often or even experience yourself. Social anxiety is that nervous feeling you get when you're about to do a presentation or get butterflies when you're getting ready to go to a party. This could be a sign you have social anxiety (welcome to the club!) all that means is certain social situations will make your amygdala fire up. Symptoms of social anxiety can include; Stumbling over your words Dry mouth/ cottonmouth Blushing Fear of being judged Fear of public speaking Sweating during social outings Shaking/ trembling/ nervous feeling for no apparent reason 3. Panic Disorder I know this one all too well and will make more in-depth posts soon so make sure you look out for them but panic disorder is when you experience panic attacks on a frequent basis. If you have a panic attack it doesn't necessarily mean you have panic disorder in the same way if you experience sadness it doesn't mean you have depression. If you have ever experienced this, I completely sympathize with you because it can feel like the end of the world during these episodes. If you experience panic attacks often you might have panic disorder. These are some of the symptoms that come with panic disorder; Racing heart Rapid breathing/hyperventilating Jittery or needing to move around Nausea Claw hands Tingling or numbness in fingers, toes and lips Pale skin Feeling lightheaded/faint Fainting Sweating Trembling 4. Phobias Phobias are another form of anxiety that can cause havoc in your daily life, especially if you often encounter phobias. The reason I put this straight after the panic disorder is that complications of panic disorder can lead to a phobia called agoraphobia Agoraphobia: Extreme or irrational fear of entering open or crowded places, of leaving one's own home, or of being in places from which escape is difficult. This is something that I have struggled with for years so it's really important that you get it seen as quickly as possible because it can consume your life. Agoraphobia is basically when you fear the fear itself and find yourself in this never-ending cycle of being anxious in a certain place then avoiding that in the hopes it will relieve your anxiety. After a while of doing this, you might have panic attacks just going to the supermarket or seeing your friends. There are plenty of other examples of phobias here are a few; - Claustrophobia - Fear of being in small or confined places e.g sitting in the back of a small car or in a crowded room - Acrophobia - fear of heights - Arachnophobia - fear of spiders Some symptoms of phobias are; Hot or cold sensation rushing through veins Pins and needles sensation Shaking Clammy hands/ Sweating Feeling dizzy or faint Dry mouth/ cottonmouth Hyperventilating Fast heart rate Avoiding things that you're afraid of e.g spiders If you find yourself getting sweaty palms after seeing a spider or feeling sick at the thought of being in a crowded room then you might have some phobias. 5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Now, this is where I am in shallow waters because I don't have PTSD so I am only going off of what I researched while making this post. PTSD is a response to a traumatic event that results in the person suffering from it having frequent nightmares and possibly avoiding certain places or people that trigger flashbacks. It can also impact your sense of self, you might find yourself doubting your worth and think you will never be "normal" again. Along with every other type of anxiety listed on this post it IS possible to recover from it with therapy. The symptoms of PTSD are a little different to the other anxiety symptoms. While you might not have the typical fight or flight symptoms you will most likely experience; Night terrors Avoiding certain places or people that spark that traumatic event in your head all over again Being hypervigilant/ aware of your surroundings. Having low self-esteem/ believing you deserved what happened to you Being startled easily Blurred memory of traumatic event Trouble falling and staying asleep Having low regard for wellbeing/self-sabotaging behaviour If you relate to these symptoms it could be a sign that you might have post-traumatic stress disorder. 6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) OCD is another foggy topic for me as I am fairly sure I don't have it but it is usually categorised by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts that you can't shake off and compulsions are the need to act on those obsessions. Especially in a pandemic, people will be more likely to obsess over germs or becoming unwell which is completely understandable. So what are some examples of obsessions and compulsions? Obsessions and compulsions can include; Obsession: Fear that you've left the oven on Compulsion: Frantically racing home fearing that your house may be on fire. Obsession: Fear of germs or getting sick Compulsion: Constantly washing your hands, cleaning excessively, avoiding places and people to reduce the risk of getting sick Obsession: Fearing something bad will happen if you don't do your rituals Compulsion: Doing the rituals in the hopes that the bad thing will no longer happen e.g. touching wood, counting, repeating a word or phrase a number of times. Obsession: Cleanliness and wanting to be organised Compulsion: Frequently cleaning and organising your home or workspace If you relate to any of the scenarios mentioned above it could be a sign you might be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Conclusion These are the different types of anxiety disorders and the symptoms that come along with them. A lot of the symptoms will overlap because they trigger your sympathetic nervous system so you'll notice sweating, nausea and trembling with most anxiety disorders. Anxiety is there to protect you but when you're not in danger it can be a pain, it won't go away overnight but it will get easier. I just want to reiterate that I am not a mental health specialist so if you believe you may have an anxiety disorder please speak to your doctor. You could have symptoms of anxiety and not have an anxiety disorder so it's best to get an evaluation by a psychologist who will determine the best course of action for you. From personal experience, I think the sooner you treat your anxiety the better because I left it untreated for too long and it spiralled out of control.