Anxiety disorders comprise a series of problems such as: generalized phobia, social phobia, specific phobias ( fear of insects, fear of open or closed spaces, etc.) , panic attack, post-traumatic stress.
In their daily lives, people frequently find themselves confronted with anxiety disorders.
Approximately 25 % of the entire population suffers from different forms of anxiety which require some sort of treatment at one point or another. Other 25 % suffer from less severe forms of anxiety (e.g. fear of mice or spiders).
What is important to be aware of is the difference between anxiety and fear. Each and every one of us was confronted with moments of intense fear, which is actually a normal bodily reaction that helps us confront danger.
However, there are people who experience an intense and irrational fear which is not justified by the presence of a dangerous situation.
These persons have a constant feeling of fear which affects their daily lives.
There are some specific reactions, common to all forms of anxiety:
– physical reactions such as: sweating, rapid heart beats, shivering, heavy breathing, nausea.
– dysfunctional thoughts: for example “ if I speak in front of a public and I make mistakes, everybody will think that I am stupid”
– avoidance behavior: persons suffering from anxiety may have the tendency to avoid all kinds of situations . All the negative thoughts and the irrational analysis of different situations, place those persons into a vicious circle which affects their lives.
Different forms of anxiety :
1. Social Phobia is the fear of being judged by others in a negative way. That is way those who are affected by this type of phobia are afraid of doing something which could make them look bad in front of other people. For example they are afraid of things such as : using public toilets, speaking , eating or drinking in public or other situations which involve the presence of other people. The ones affected by this type of anxiety have the tendency of avoiding the above mentioned situations and also can end up isolating themselves from the outside world.
2. Specific phobias manifest in the persistent and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation such as : blood, insects, needles, etc. Usually, adults affected by this type of anxiety are aware of the fact that their fear is irrational but nevertheless they avoid that specific object, person or situation.
3. Panic attacks may not be related to a specific situation and may occur spontaneously.
4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder consists in having undesired thoughts or intrusive obsessions. It manifests itself in rituals such as: the excessive hand washing , extremely frequent showers. People affected by this type of anxiety are aware of the irrational side of their actions.
5. Post traumatic disorders appear after an extremely traumatizing event. The event can either be recent ( e.g. physical abuse, car accident ) or old ( e.g. sexual abuse during childhood). The reactions to these types of traumas can be even more severe than the event itself. Usually people tend to avoid those situations, people or places that remind them of the traumatizing event.
The cure of these anxiety disorders consists in following the advice of a specialist and the drugs he or she prescribes.
Untreated, these problems can have serious effects on the affected person’s life.