Everyone gets a little nervous or anxious once in a while, and most people deal with some level of anxiety every day. Facing some anxiety is normal and actually a beneficial part of our everyday lives. It's when this anxiety interferes with our normal daily activities that it becomes a problem. Feeling an overwhelming and persistent level of disorders anxiety on a daily basis is cause for concern and should be discussed with your health care professional.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
1. Many people consider themselves "worry warts" when they experience regular anxiety associated with things such as finances or health. It's normal and understandable to worry about things that are out of your control. But persistent, excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday things might be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder. Anticipating disaster and expecting the worst when there is no warrant for such feelings are common symptoms of GAD. Women are twice as likely to be afflicted with GAD than men.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects men and women equally and is characterized by intrusive and unwelcome thoughts that produce anxiety, and the behaviors performed to try and ease this feeling. Most people with OCD are aware their various behaviors are irrational, yet are powerless to stop or change them. Obsessions range from worry about germs to excessive concern about the safety of others. Compulsions include constant hand washing and hoarding, often keeping useless items such as bottle caps.
Panic Disorder (aka Panic Attack)
3. Certain things in life often result in panic attacks, such as not knowing where a child is for example. But when these attacks occur spontaneously, with little to no obvious trigger, it could be a more serious condition, especially when the attack is accompanied by feelings of imminent danger or a fear of losing control. Twice as many women are affected, and one in three panic disorder sufferers develops agoraphobia, which is a fear of places and situations from which escape is difficult.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
4. Experiencing or witnessing traumatic events can have a lasting effect on anyone's psychological well-being, but people suffering from PTSD take a much longer time to recover. They continue to be severely affected by the event, often becoming depressed for months or even years. Flashbacks and nightmares are common, and the sufferer often will feel detached from others. Women are more likely to be affected than men, with rape being the most likely trigger.
Social Anxiety Disorder (aka Social Phobia)
5. Almost everyone's felt that flash of panic right before heading into the unknown, whether it be an important presentation or asking someone out to dinner. This feeling is intensified in people with social anxiety disorder, who have an intense fear of being negatively judged by others. An often selective disorder, these feelings of anxiety may have different triggers, such as a sufferer who feels comfortable giving presentations but becomes physically ill at the thought of attending a party.
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