Periodic anxiety is a natural part of life. After all, you encounter stressful situations everyday. Your car won’t start. You have a confrontation with your boss. It’s normal to have some fear or worry in response to these stressors.
A diagnosis of anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is a common mental condition where you experience excessive worry most days of the week and for an extended period of time. If anxiety goes untreated, you may have a hard time controlling these emotions and they can start to interfere with your daily life and routines.
Even though worry is at the root of most anxiety, not all anxiety looks the same from person to person. There are several types of anxiety disorders, including these five major types:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) - GAD involves chronic, excessive worrying, even in response to minor, everyday situations.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - OCD includes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. A person performs these repetitive behaviors to try to get rid of the obsessive thoughts.
- Panic disorder - Panic disorder involves panic attacks where a person has a sudden, unexpected episode of overwhelming anxiety with symptoms like fast heart rate, sweating, and an impending sense of doom.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - PTSD is anxiety that occurs after experiencing or witnessing trauma.
- Social anxiety disorder - This type of anxiety occurs in social situations and can affect a person’s ability to interact with other people.
Though we don’t know exactly what causes anxiety, we do know there isn’t one universal cause for everyone. For some people, anxiety disorders are triggered by a single event. For others, there may be a wide range of factors.
If you feel like you’re a danger to yourself or others or might harm yourself or others, please contact 911 immediately, go to your nearest emergency room or hospital, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.