There are times when thoughts exhaust us on a mental level. Also, before a presentation or speech, there is a feeling of uneasiness or fright. Amidst this, the excessive bout of worry makes us think – what is wrong with me? We start relating it with a health problem. But, relax and understand that you have no major disease. You have a condition called anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders have become common lately. In the United States, about 40 million adults (19.1%) get affected by this mental illness. Besides, 7% of children from the age group 3-17 experience anxiety each year. But what are anxiety disorders? Let’s explore more about it.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
We all undergo anxiety. And experiencing it at times is also normal. But if your anxiety is constant and averts you from leading a normal life. Then, watch out as it may be an anxiety disorder.
Before appearing for exams or a competition, we start feeling nervous. This nervousness is anxiety and it is a very common emotion. But if there is constant anxiety that is impacting your daily life, then it is a sign of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are different and severe. They are a group of mental health problems that torment a person with constant worry and fear. So, anxiety disorders arouse in the absence of stress too! And that’s why people question themselves – what is wrong with me?
Besides, there are six types of anxiety disorders too. So, let’s explore them.
Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?
If you still have the question boggling your mind that – what is wrong with me? Then look for these conditions.
1. Panic disorder
People with this disorder experience a panic attack. A panic attack occurs when an intense feeling of fear comes without a warning. But panic attacks are often mistaken to be a heart attack. The reason being the severe physical symptoms. So, this constant fear avoids people from going to public places. Some even opt for social isolation. Statistics show that about 2-3% of Americans experience panic disorder in a year. And panic attacks are more common in women than in men.
- Chest pain
- Palpitations or racing heart
- Shortness of breath
2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD revolves around extreme tension and worry. In this disorder, the anxiety level is much more intensified. The level is higher than the typical anxiety that people experience daily. Thus, this extreme situation leads to a lack of concentration. Besides, it also affects the daily work routine.
- Muscle tension
- Lack of concentration
- Constant irritation
- Hot flashes
- Short of breath
- Frequent urination
3. Social Anxiety Disorder
When you put on your favorite dress and have a constant fear that onlookers are laughing at you. Then you have a social anxiety disorder or social phobia. People experiencing this anxiety are very self-conscious in everyday social situations. They fear that people judge them, pass remarks, or laugh at them. Thus, giving them a feeling of humiliation and embarrassment. Most importantly, social anxiety disorder arouses in parties, public speaking or dating.
- Feeling embarrassed
- Fear while interacting with strangers
- Shaky voice
- Imagining worst consequences out of a negative experience
- Fear while participating in a social event
Phobias are often tagged as illogical or unreasonable fears. Those are often surrounded by fear about certain objects or situations. While some have a phobia of water or some have of animals. Statistics show that about 9.1% of U.S. adults suffer from a specific phobia. But, overthinking about these phobias or feared objects can become grave. It may lead to panic attacks or extreme anxiety.
- Fear of death
- Abnormal breathing
- Uncontrollable anxiety
- Acknowledging that fear is unreasonable yet unable to control feelings
- Choking sensation
- State of confusion
- Attempts to avoid the source of fear
5. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If a person experiences traumatic events like sexual abuse, assault or even accident. Then they fall prey to PTSD. Such people start feeling emotionally ill while thinking about the event. They might find it difficult to adjust or cope with the situation. There are about 8 million adults who are living with PTSD in the United States. Most importantly, after a traumatic event, PTSD patients may take a longer time to recover from anxiety.
- Flashbacks and nightmares of the event
- Avoiding people and places that remind of the event
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of concentration
- Exaggeration of negative feelings
- Irritation or aggression
6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
People engulfed in OCD continue to have overwhelming anxious thoughts or behaviors. They also get engaged in certain rituals. Amidst this, some tend to get obsessed with rituals. For example, some keep washing their hands or mop the floor now and then. While doing so, the individual is not happy but he/she is finding a way to get relief from thoughts.
- Obsession – When excessive thoughts or images enter the mind
- Compulsion – repetitive behavior that happens because of the obsession
Common obsession – fear of dirt. With this obsession, it becomes challenging for a patient to touch things, used by others. Because they always think that there are germs.
Common compulsion – washing hands, counting or checking whether things are in place.
What is the Line of Treatment for Anxiety Disorder?
If you have any of these symptoms, seek the help of your doctor. Your doctor might run some tests to derive whether it is a medical illness or anxiety disorder. There are no specific tests to determine mental illness. So, if your doctor doesn’t find any medical illness then don’t panic. Don’t question yourself that – what is wrong with me?
Instead, he/she will suggest seeing a psychiatrist or a mental health specialist. Without any inhibition, visit a mental health specialist. Their tools and treatment might help you battle anxiety disorders. Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, are a boon. Studies also show the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy. Moreover, owing to your condition, they might also suggest medication. But the choice depends on the medical practitioner and the patient.
Some people still assume that willpower can suppress anxiety disorders. Instead, untreated situations can become grave and lead to depression or drug abuse. So, if the thought – what is wrong with me, troubles you. Then, seek help from a professional.
Tips to Help People Suffering from an Anxiety Disorder
- Don’t assume. Instead, ask them if they need anything.
- Fill their lives with positivity.
- Don’t get scared if the person is in a panic state. Instead, give them strength and confidence.
- Say encouraging words. Also, if they need someone 24/7 to discuss, then talk to them.
- Be patient. Also, accept them the way they are.
- Don’t set speed for recovery. Instead, let the patient decide for themselves.
- Don’t surprise the person. It might make them anxious.
Some people showcase their lives to be perfect. But that doesn’t mean they are happy. Deep within they still have a social stigma about mental illness. So, if you think you have an anxiety disorder, then seek help today. If it intensifies, then it may become difficult to control. So, stop asking – what is wrong with me and seek advice!
Neelambari started her rollercoaster ride as a journalist at Pune Mirror (Times Group). After which she started exploring the world of content writing. Today, she boasts more than five years of experience filled with creativity and diversity. During this tenure, she explored various mediums like articles, blogs, social media posts, website content, and much more. And this content ranged from Gynecology, Ayurveda, Dental health to nutrition. However, she enjoys the most writing about Psychology and other medical streams. She loves writing and aims to bring positive changes at least in some lives with her articles on www.themindfool.com