Anxiety can be understood as a normal part of life that affects individuals in different ways. However, when the symptoms become severe, typical anxiety can turn into a mental health disorder. With this in mind, different anxiety disorders likewise affect people in varied ways. There are seven anxiety disorders, each of which is defined by a unique set of triggers. Below, we’ve outlined the primary characteristics of each of the anxiety disorders we treat.
The Seven Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
It is not uncommon to experience occasional episodes of anxiety as a natural aspect of life. However, individuals diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) often experience heightened levels of worry or nervousness on a regular basis, even in situations where there may be minimal or no apparent cause for concern.
According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the experience of anxiety and worry is commonly accompanied by three or more of the following six symptoms. It is important to note that these symptoms should be present for a majority of the days over a period of six months or more:
- Feeling restless, tense, or on edge
- Being easily exhausted
- Having trouble focusing or going blank
- Tense muscles
- Trouble sleeping (inability to fall or remain asleep, or restless, unsatisfactory sleep)
GAD and most anxiety disorders are typically managed through psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
It is important to note that not all individuals who experience a panic attack will necessarily develop panic disorder. Individuals diagnosed with panic disorder experience recurrent and unforeseen episodes of intense panic attacks. These attacks are commonly described as experiencing a sudden surge of fear or discomfort, accompanied by a feeling of losing control, even in the absence of any apparent danger or identifiable trigger.
Panic disorder can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider or a mental health professional, who will carefully evaluate your symptoms for other possible anxiety disorders. Typically, when an individual experiences four or more panic attacks and lives with a persistent worry of future episodes, it may be indicative of panic disorder.
Treatment for panic disorder generally involves psychotherapy and medications.
For many who suffer from agoraphobia, simply being in places where they feel trapped or helpless is terrifying. It is a common misconception that persons with agoraphobia are just afraid of being in crowded places or using public transportation. However, agoraphobia is a complex mental condition where one feels an extreme aversion to being in social situations for fear of experiencing an anxiety attack.
The diagnostic interview is a crucial part of any psychiatric assessment, especially for agoraphobia. A healthcare provider will be able to make a diagnosis of agoraphobia by carefully assessing your symptoms, their frequency, and their intensity.
Typically, individuals diagnosed with agoraphobia are commonly advised to undergo psychotherapy in conjunction with taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) known as sertraline.
An extreme aversion to something that presents little to no real threat is characteristic of a specific phobia. Adults with specific phobias often have a reasonable understanding of the irrationality of their worries, yet the very thought of confronting their phobia triggers a great deal of anxiety.
The most effective treatment for most types of specific phobias has often been psychotherapy and, more especially, exposure-based treatments. In most cases, therapy will focus on one phobia at a time by treating the avoidance behavior that has formed in relation to that phobia.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder often experience heightened levels of worry, fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment during routine social interactions.
Individuals who have encountered teasing, bullying, rejection, ridicule, or humiliation during their childhood may have an increased susceptibility to developing social anxiety disorder. This illness may also be linked to other stressful experiences in a person’s life, such as family problems or experiencing trauma and/or abuse.
Both talk therapy and antidepressant medication have been shown to be effective in helping people with social anxiety disorder feel more at ease while improving their interpersonal skills.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety is a common and developmentally appropriate emotion experienced by infants and young children. However, when separation anxiety begins to disrupt age-appropriate behavior, it is important to recognize it as a disorder that requires treatment.
Separation anxiety disorder is a psychological condition characterized by a profound and overwhelming fear of being separated from a cherished individual or caregiver. This condition can manifest in individuals of all ages. In adults, separation anxiety from childhood may manifest as a paralyzing dread that something terrible will happen to people who are important to you.
The recommended treatment options for separation anxiety disorder typically involve a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication.
Selective mutism is a recognized anxiety disorder that manifests as the inability of an individual to speak in specific social settings, such as school, work, or within the community. Individuals diagnosed with selective mutism often exhibit the ability to converse comfortably and effectively in some environments, such as their own homes.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral therapy techniques, such as gradual exposure, are some validated treatments for selective mutism.
Explore Treatment for Anxiety Disorders in Atlanta, GA
At Inner Voyage Recovery Center, we provide a variety of services geared toward helping you conquer your mental health conditions and reclaim your life. If you are struggling with any of these anxiety disorders in Atlanta, GA, and the surrounding areas, we are here to provide support in alleviating your triggers and helping you find more balance.
Our facility provides comprehensive and individualized treatment plans that incorporate both medication and psychotherapy. These methods are highly effective in managing common symptoms and addressing the root cause of anxiety disorders. By successfully completing treatment at our facility, individuals can develop the necessary skills to effectively confront their fears and navigate challenging situations without being hindered by negative thoughts.
For more information about our program or to seek treatment for your mental health, we kindly invite you to contact us through our admissions page or call us directly at (470) 523-4606.