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Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life: people might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision, but anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.
There are different types of anxiety disorders.
A panic attack is characterized by an intense fear, and the experience of a number of bodily sensations, such as dizziness, palpitations, feeling unable to breathe properly, shaking, sweating, etc.
The panic attacks are mostly unexpected: the person is worried about their recurrence and is concerned about the possible consequences. People are usually afraid to die (i.e. heart attack.), to lose control or to go crazy. Many indiviaduals try to avoid situations that might provoke a panic attack.
The specific phobia is characterized by an uncontrolled anxiety caused by exposure to an object (spider, mouse, insects) or feared situation (flying, hospital visits), often leading to avoidant behaviour.
The most common phobias are:
- Blood, injections, injuries
- Specific situations (elevator, small spaces)
- Natural environment (storm, deepwater)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAS is also known as "worry disorder": the person is worried about at least two different subjects and the worry is present for at least six months. The thoughts always end in a disaster scenario and are experienced by the patient as uncontrollable.
The worrying is also present with at least three of the following symptoms:
- Restlessness, agitation or irritation
- Become easily fatigued
- Concentration or memory problems
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty sleeping
Social anxiety often develops in adolescence, when social contacts also arise outside the immediate home environment.
Social anxiety usually has a chronic course and often occurs with other symptoms and psychological problems such as panic disorder, depression, alcohol abuse and dependence. Sometimes personality problems can also play a role (avoidant, dependent or compulsive).
Social anxiety is characterized by excessive fear of criticism and / or negative evaluation by others. The symptoms affect the performance and cause emotional pain and suffering.