The most common type of mental disorder is anxiety. The prevalence of it has grown exponentially over the last 2 years, but so has our basic understanding of it. Anxiety is a complex condition and while there are some shared characteristics, it often doesn’t look the same on each person. The root commonality of anxiety disorders is often fear, and symptoms can range from mild and subtle, to extreme and debilitating.
Anxiety is developed in many ways and often through a combination of factors, including biological, genetic, environmental, and your general life situation. Below are the 5 major anxiety disorders that affect millions each year. Developing a better understanding of the different types of anxiety can support you in recognizing where the root of your anxiety might be coming from. If you’re struggling with severe anxiety that interferes with your daily life, our therapists and counselors at Dr. Messina & Associates are trained to treat all types. Please do not hesitate to get the help you need.
This is the one of the most common types of anxiety disorder. The characteristic of GAD is an excessive or exaggerated worry about everyday life for no obvious reason. People with generalized anxiety are known for expecting the worst. There are many misconceptions around this classification of anxiety that make it difficult for those who struggle from it to recognize when they need help. Someone who doesn’t struggle with anxiety might see it as an exaggeration, but this is a very common and real anxiety disorder that affects around 6.8 million adults each year. Severe symptoms of generalized anxiety can dominate our lives so much that it becomes hard to maintain relationships and participate at work or school.
This is another common anxiety disorder that is rooted in a persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can become so crippling that you avoid social situations altogether and it can often prevent you from going to work or school. Social anxiety is a normal behavior that affects most people at some point in their lives. It becomes a problem when it causes significant disruption to your life. Social anxiety is not to be confused with being introverted, as it can affect both introverts and extroverts. In fact, those who suffer are known to hide physical symptoms or actively mask them. Some subtle behaviors of social anxiety are looking at your phone to avoid being approached, avoiding situations where you’re the center of attention, and struggling to eat in public.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized as uncontrollable and reoccurring thoughts and behaviors. In brain scans of those with OCD, it’s been shown that the brain responds too much to errors and not enough to stop signals, which is where the compulsive behavior comes in. When people think of OCD, they usually picture someone obsessively cleaning. This is a common assumption, but not every person suffering from OCD has this trait. Many times, people confuse OCD with perfectionism, but OCD is much more complicated than that. OCD interferes with our ability to function in daily life and those who suffer often spend significant amounts of time dealing with it.
People with panic disorder experience recurrent and unexpected panic attacks or intense fear. There’s a persistent fear of having panic attacks, since they often occur without a trigger. The fear of panic attacks leads to maladaptive behaviors as a way to avoid experiencing one. Many people can have a panic attack, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have panic disorder.
PTSD stems from experiencing something that was frightening and distressing or a prolonged traumatic event. Some common triggering events are sexual assault, familial abuse or serious car accidents. You can experience a traumatic event without developing PTSD. War veterans are usually who people think of when they hear the term, however, 1 in 11 people are affected by it.
There is never a wrong time to seek help. Not only does therapy give you the support you need, it helps you gain a better understanding of yourself and provides the tools to help you feel in control of your life.
Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.