The most direct way to answer this question is to determine how much your anxiety is affecting your daily routine.
Everyone experiences anxiety throughout life. Anxiety levels tend to ebb and flow based on the intensity of challenges faced.
However, if you find that your anxiety regularly interferes with the quality of your life, your social interactions, and work or school, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are common in the US. If you’re struggling, you’re certainly not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 31.1% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
Here are some of the most common types of anxiety disorders:
Social settings are the trigger for this type of anxiety disorder. There may be one or more extreme social fears that get in the way of healthy, successful social interactions. Some common social phobias include eating or drinking in public or talking in social settings. Sometimes, there’s such severe anxiety with social phobias that it’s difficult to pinpoint what specifically triggers it. In these cases, whenever the sufferer is around people, the phobia kicks in.
With GAD, worry and anxiety are too strong for a given situation. It’s an overreaction of the mind’s defense system, causing symptoms to interfere with life. Sometimes, the anxiety is strong even when there are few if any noticeable triggers. This is a chronic form of anxiety.
Those who experience panic disorder often feel like they’re having a heart attack when a panic attack occurs. During these times, the panic is so severe that physical symptoms including dizziness, heart palpitations, abdominal distress, chest pain and shortness of breath are often present.
Not surprisingly, panic disorder can be highly alarming for those who experience it. This isn’t only because of the adverse physical symptoms, it’s also because panic episodes can happen with no known trigger.
Because of this, many sufferers also develop social phobias, fearing they could have a panic attack in public. Again, since attacks can’t be predicted, this fear is very understandable.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can present itself after someone experiences a highly stressful life event. This disorder is most likely to occur when one’s life is threatened, significant physical harm has occurred or an event was uniquely terrifying. I like to think of trauma as something that overwhelms our ability to cope. It may not mean that you get PTSD but that you can experienced to traumatic stress, which needs to be healed with a trauma informed intervention like EMRD.Some common events that could trigger PTSD include a difficult medical appointment (e.g. a cancer scare or something that requires an ICU or ER visit), neglect or abuse as a child, and assaults. It also should be noted that children can experience PTSD even if the triggers are considered less severe. A child’s ability to handle stress isn’t as developed as an adult’s, leading to a greater chance for overwhelming, stressful encounters.
This description of anxiety types may help you determine if you or a loved one are experiencing a condition that requires treatment to get relief. Don’t rely on medications alone and especially don’t rely on alcohol or cannabis alone. However, it’s important to remember that only a trained professional can confidently provide clarity to any struggles you have and treat them safely and quickly.
Because depression, anxiety disorders and ADHD have overlapping symptoms, proper diagnosis can be complex. Some find that they have none of these conditions or as many as all three.
The Center for Neurocognitive Excellence team can help you to diagnose your condition if you worry you may have an anxiety disorder. We also offer neurofeedback training, counseling and coaching to assist you in getting your anxiety levels back to a healthy level and helping your engage in your own way.