Anxiety is a normal part of life and a typical human emotion. Everybody experiences nervousness and moments that make them anxious. For example, the anticipation leading up to a big presentation you’re giving in front of your boss, senior company leadership, and a valuable client can be overwhelming. It can cause increased heart rates, stomach pains, and sweaty palms. But what happens when those feelings and symptoms don’t go away and wind up interfering with your everyday life?
One in 40 million adults in the U.S. (roughly 18% of the population) has an anxiety disorder. One can experience emotional and physical symptoms from generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, and panic attacks, to name a few. According to most anxiety disorder treatment facilities, the two most common types are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD).
Generalized and Social Anxiety Disorders
Both GAD and SAD make you feel persistent and excessive fears and worries in non-threatening situations, leading to fight-or-flight mode. But there are some slight differences. In generalized anxiety disorder, symptoms may include restlessness, irritability, and feeling on edge. Physically, there’s muscle tension, and fatigue sets in quickly. Yet, you may have sleep problems, as well as difficulty concentrating and controlling worry.
On the other hand, those with social anxiety disorder (or social phobia) fear social situations. They experience extreme anxiety being around and talking to others, avoiding places where other people are and worrying for days or weeks before a group event. They feel self-conscious and worry about judgment, rejection, humiliation, embarrassment, and offending others. And they find it challenging to make and keep friends. Physical symptoms include nausea, trembling, sweating, and blushing.
Other Types and Treatments
While GAD and SAD are most common, there are other reasons one might seek out an anxiety disorder treatment center. For example, a panic disorder produces panic attacks, which are feelings of terror that arise seemingly out of nowhere, characterized by chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Phobias are also anxiety disorders, characterized by persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation, often to a higher degree than the actual threat of danger posed. Obsessive-compulsive disorder applies here as well.
Most people develop anxiety disorder symptoms before age 21, with women being 60% more likely than men to receive a diagnosis. Sometimes, feelings associated with anxiety disorders come from other conditions like an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar. Some medications also produce symptoms. It’s critical to receive a diagnosis from your primary care physician first. Anxiety disorder symptoms often coexist with depression, so expect a thorough emotional health evaluation, as well as one or more treatment options.
Through the help of anxiety disorder treatment facilities, many people learn how to manage their anxiety symptoms successfully.