There are many different types of anxiety and we may experience one, a few or none during our lifetime. It can also manifest in different ways, such as panic attacks, hoarding, substance abuse, migraines or nausea. If you believe you have anxiety, compare your experiences with those of these main types of anxiety.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety disorder and affects millions of people around the world. A person with GAD experiences ongoing states of mental and/or physical tension, and nervousness without a just cause. You constantly feel on edge, nervous, worried and stressed out, sometimes to the point of feeling nauseous, extremely tired or obsessive.
Social anxiety comes from an irrational fear of social situations. For different people a “social situation” will mean something different—it could be a few people or it could be a crowd of people that makes them anxious. Social anxiety is more than feeling shy in public or with new friends; It is a fear that debilitates your life either through hibernation (when you don’t leave your home) or fear of being judged, outkast or shunned.
Image: Sarah Ross
Panic attacks are a very real, very scary part of anxiety. Not everyone who has anxiety will experience a panic attack, but others will experience them regularly. The attack comes from an overwhelming fear that has no cause. People who live in fear of having another panic attack, have what’s called panic disorder. It’s unclear what causes panic attacks or panic disorder.
People who live with agoraphobia will avoid situations because they have an irrational fear of feeling embarrassed, trapped or helpless. Their panic is linked to certain situations or settings, which they then avoid to prevent experiencing the negative feelings listed above. People who have a panic disorder are more likely to have agoraphobia (and vice versa).
If you or your teen have, or believe you have, an anxiety disorder of some sort, consult your family doctor or a counsellor for treatment and management options.
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