Anxiety Corner

It is normal to feel anxious.  If you are facing a challenge at work or school, feelings of anxiety can rise.  Some anxiety is needed in life – it’s what makes you show up for work or get your paper written – but too much anxiety can make functioning nearly impossible.

What are the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders and The Symptoms?

Anxiety disorders come in different flavors and can present in many different ways.  The following lists some of the types of anxiety disorders and the associated symptoms..

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):

Requires excessive anxiety and worry that is hard to control and occurs for more days than not for at least 6 months.

A person diagnosed with GAD must have at least 3 of the following symptoms

    • Restlessness
    • Easily fatigued
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Irritability
    • Muscle tension
    • Difficulty controlling the worry
    • Sleep disturbance

Specific Phobia:

Specific phobias may appear irrational to others, but is typically based in a fear from past occurrences that may be obvious or not so much.

A person diagnosed with a specific phobia requires that for at least 6 months there is an experienced fear, anxiety, or avoidance as characterized by the following three symptoms:

  • A recognized specific fear – flying, heights, etc.
  • Fear or anxiety provoked by exposure
  • Avoidance

Panic Disorder:

Panic attacks are required to be diagnosed with a Panic Disorder.  Panic attacks can be incredibly scary and it may feel like you are literally dying.  Descriptions of the feelings while experiencing a panic attack include heart sensations (palpitations, pounding, accelerated rate), sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, choking sensation, inability to escape, and the feeling of impending doom..

Read more about Panic Disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD requires the presence of obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, or both.  OCD is described as a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency.

To be diagnosed with OCD, 4 or more of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent the major point of the activity is lost.
  • Perfectionism that interferes with task completion.
  • Excessive devotion to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships.
  • An individual is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values.
  • Reluctance to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things.
  • Adoption of a miserly spending style toward both self and others.
  • Rigidity and stubbornness.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

PTSD requires exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation.  Many of our veterans returning from the hyper-vigilant states created by combat are struggling on a daily basis.  Also, individuals who have experienced serious non-combat events may be affected without readily acknowledging the root cause.

The symptoms of PTSD include

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
  • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
  • Increased arousal, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Individuals with social anxiety disorder struggle with the fear of social or performance situations.  The expectation is that they may be judged or rejected by others.

The symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder include:

  • Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
  • Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  • Being very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Staying away from places where there are other people
  • Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
  • Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around