Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAD is often manifested through physical symptoms such as insomnia, upset stomach, restlessness, and exhaustion. Psychologically, GAD experiences a relentless sense of impending doom, consistent worrying, and an endless feeling that something bad is coming. Described as “worry-warts” or people who “think too much”, GAD can feel like the brain’s thoughts just can’t be turned off.
Anyone who has experienced a panic attack knows how unpleasant it is. One of the strongest symptoms of a panic attack is the aftermath– living in fear of experiencing another one. Panic disorder is characterized by repeated panic attacks and anxiety in the interim. The brain resorts to panic when it is suddenly convinced of death or helplessness. A panic attack lasts about 20 minutes. Typically, people believe they are having a heart attack or losing their minds.
Like a nagging voice inside one’s head, OCD is an unending voice leading to obsession and compulsive action. OCD can be seen as a disorder born out of a need for control, order, and structure. Obsessive thoughts lead to repeated compulsive actions as a way to cope with the anxiety. For example, irrationally fearful of catching diseases, one may have to wash their hands a certain number of times to feel safe.
Phobias are irrational fears that are taken to the extreme. While some phobias are physical, i.e. certain animals or activities like flying, others are situational. Some people experience extreme anxiety when they have to speak in public or take mass transportation. Phobias can lead to a change in lifestyle in order to avoid that which one is afraid of.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Being nervous, shy, or intimidated when meeting new people is normal. Humans are imperfect and aware of their insecurities. Social anxiety disorder takes this human condition to the extreme. Putting immense pressure on themselves through fears of judgment, humiliation, and rejection, people with social anxiety disorder will go to great lengths to avoid people. They might turn to addictive substances like drugs and alcohol to give them ‘courage’ or confidence to be around people socially.
People might experience anxiety as a result of traumatic events. Their symptoms seem bizarre and misplaced, yet when a certain stimuli presents itself so does anxiety. Anxiety of this kind is more psychologically rooted than psychiatrically rooted. Time, therapy, and healing will likely help it go away.