There are different types of anxiety disorders, and each one is far beyond the general anxieties everyone faces in life due to negative stimuli. The term anxiety disorder is actually a very general one that could allude to several forms of anxieties.
There are varying degrees of these conditions, some being merely phobias over a specific thing, others pathological illnesses, and major disorders that could prevent a sufferer from pursuing normal daily routines out of a crippling fear.
First Steps: Assessment
The first step in the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is an assessment of the person. Interviews or questionnaires are often used and they are usually standardized. An expert makes an evaluation based on the results of the test as well as his or her own observations.
Medical examinations are also called for in case any symptoms could be derived from a chemical imbalance or physical condition. A family history is also examined, as genetics can be a cause of anxiety disorders developing in children.
These sufferers are often afraid, but unable to understand or explain what they are afraid of, or controlling their worry. This type of unwholesome, fearful anxiety could lead to headaches, dizzy spells and insomnia.
Then there is a panic disorder, which sees a person suffer from brief bouts of intense panic or apprehension. This disorder too leads to physical symptoms like dizzy spells, shakiness and shortness of breath. Contrary to popular belief, these panic attacks don’t simply come out of nowhere.
There is usually always a reason that the panic attack came about, whether the person was frightened, endured a long period of stress or became physically active. A person undergoing an intense panic attack may confuse the condition with a heart attack.
There are also phobias, which are specific and often times irrational fears about a certain object or situation. Unlike general anxiety and panic attacks, these fears are focused one item and thus the sufferer must avoid their phobia at all cost. Among various common phobias are the fear of spiders, fear of high places, fear of knives, animals or large crowds.
It’s been noted that people who suffer from phobias exhibit an impressive imagination, which if not channeled properly can become self-destructive, resulting in the sufferer anticipating all kinds of worst-case scenarios involving the feared object or situation.
Other forms of anxiety disorders include social anxiety, which sees individuals become terrified of public evaluation, obsessive compulsive disorder, which sees individuals suffer from repetitive and intrusive thoughts that force them to take repetitive action to relieve the anxiety, and love-shyness which is fear of intimate relationships.
Though post-traumatic stress disorder is its own condition, most of the above anxiety disorders are derived from some form of past trauma in which a person was exposed to frightening stimuli that he or she could never reconcile.
Anxiety disorders can be treated with traditional medicine, psychotherapy, and alternative medicine and practices. Others are able to live with the disorder or use self-help techniques rather than seek professional help.