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What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

Feeling anxious is expected on an occasional basis. When faced with potentially deadly situations or an uncomfortable environment, our nerves kick in to keep us safe. An increased heart rate and sweating are two methods our bodies use to respond to the situation, triggering our fight or flight response. However, some people experience these symptoms intensely, sometimes constantly, despite the lack of danger. If you experience these symptoms or symptoms similar to what’s described, you may have an anxiety disorder.

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders cause those who suffer from them to feel constant worry and fear, which can harshly impact their day-to-day lives. Life with an anxiety disorder can be crippling. Still, like most ailments, you can manage it with time and proper treatment methods. Suppose you’re struggling more than average with worry, distress, or fear. In that case, you could have Generalized Anxiety Disorder or a specific type of anxiety such as panic or social anxiety disorder. So, what are these disorders, and how do we tell them apart?

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is the most common form of anxiety disorder. Those who suffer from GAD can experience an excess of unrealistic fears, paranoia, or tensions for no reason. Unlike phobias, there isn’t always a trigger for GAD, so it can happen out of the blue and at a high intensity.
  • Panic Disorder: Those with panic disorder experience terror that appears suddenly and randomly. They can be prone to panic attacks, which may lead to them experiencing sweating, increased heart rate, or hyperventilation. Those who go through a panic attack may avoid similar situations to avoid the potential onset of another attack happening.
  • Social Anxiety: Social Anxiety can prompt someone to feel unsafe or self-conscious in everyday social circumstances. Those with this disorder tend to fixate on the idea of being ridiculed, embarrassed, or judged in public spaces and will intentionally avoid social situations.
  • Separation Anxiety: Those who suffer from Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) can experience increased anxiety levels when separated from a person, place, or item that makes them feel safe. Separating someone from their anchor can lead to panic attacks or symptoms of a similar nature. It’s only considered Separation Anxiety Disorder when the response to being separated from their anchor is inappropriate or excessive.

Is Anxiety A Bad Thing?

It’s essential to keep in mind that anxiety isn’t always a negative experience. Anxiety helps us stay alert in uncomfortable or unsafe situations, allowing us to react should something occur. However, when the anxiety is constant or overwhelming and interferes with daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder. Feeling anxious is normal, but when you experience it all of the time, then it can become a problem. Suppose you feel that you’re going through any of these symptoms in your day-to-day life and to an intense degree. In that case, it’d be best to reach out to a mental healthcare provider, as they can provide you with the necessary information and treatment options for your anxiety.

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Helene A. Miller / And Other Providers
Family Psychiatry and Therapy brings compassion, understanding, and skilled care to patients throughout New Jersey. Our team of mental health professionals focuses on providing a positive and uplifting experience that aids our patients in facing life’s toughest challenges.