Remember the trembling right before you get on stage to address an audience? Or that sinking feeling in your stomach when your parents caught you stealing snacks at 2am? Those are examples of our mediocre anxiety kicking in when our body senses a threat to ourselves or our surroundings. Anxiety in general is perceived as something completely normal, but isn’t always something positive. So how would one know if they need help?
There are many types of anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety, phobias etc. Although these types of anxiety disorders distinguish themselves from one another, the one common ground for every one of them is the constant state of worry which could potentially harm one’s daily routine and in some cases also portray as physical symptoms. Although there is no specific medical test to diagnose these disorders, psychiatrists tend to ask the individual a series of questions in order to know what the problem is.
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder – This is the most common type of anxiety disorder and is recognized through excessive, chronic worry related to school, work, health and safety (Covid-19 news), future events etc. It also has at least one of the symptoms such as motor/muscle tension, fatigue irritability or poor concentration. GAD is often witnessed in perfectionists who are excessively critical of themselves and worry persistently. Although the individual with anxiety goes through all this internally – on the outside, it won’t be as visible to the others.
2. Panic Disorder – These are recurrent episodes of severe anxiety also known as panic attacks. These episodes are almost associated with a fear of dying, losing control or losing one’s mind. They usually last minutes but sometimes longer. Panic attacks in younger children are usually triggered by specific events of stressor while out of the blue attacks are quite rare.
3. Social Anxiety Disorder – Also known as Social Phobia, this disorder is an excessive fear of discomfort in social or performance situations. It is associated with the extreme fear of negative evaluation by others such as worrying about doing something embarrassing in a public area. Commonly feared social situations include; public performances, ordinary social situations, ordering food at restaurants etc. This could lead to diminished social skills, longer speech latencies and eventually one left with fewer or no friends.
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – These are the distressing intrusive memories/dreams or images of a traumatic event and/or avoidance of places and conversations that would remind of the event. Studies show that around 7 or 8 out of every 100 individuals suffer from PTSD at some point of their lives. PTSD can also be presented
through physical symptoms such as being easily startled/frightened, always being on guard for danger, and having trouble sleeping and concentrating. Getting diagnosed and treated as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.
The above mentioned were only a few of the many anxiety disorders that millions of people suffer from every day. Different individuals have their own way of coping with it, but getting medical help from a professional is always the most recommended choice. There are communities on social media which provide aid and a helping hand for those who find it difficult to get along with their day-to-day lives. Anxiety is normal and isn’t the end of the world but it only has power over you as much as you give it. Faster you get yourself checked out with a professional and attend regular therapy sessions, the sooner this nightmare may end for you.
Remember, fighting a mental health issue doesn’t only affect you but also has effects on everyone who depends and communicates with you. Not every day is rainbows and sunshine, but don’t let a dark cloud storm its way through your life. Don’t forget to – Pause. Breathe. Reflect.