Common types of anxiety disorders

An anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by feelings of anxiety, restlessness, tension, irritability, but for no apparent reason. This is a common mental disorder with many different forms, each with its own characteristics, causes, and manifestations.

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Rối loạn lo âu là một bệnh tâm lý phổ biến với nhiều dạng bệnh khác nhau

What is an anxiety disorder?

Anxiety, stress is a very normal bodily response when a person is faced with stressful, difficult, dangerous situations. However, when anxiety is severe and persistent, it can be a sign of a complex mental health problem, often an anxiety disorder.

An anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by persistent feelings of anxiety, fear, restlessness, insecurity, and panic that do not go away, and may even get worse over time. time. If this situation is not overcome soon, it will cause many difficulties, hinder daily activities, reduce work performance and seriously affect health.

Until now, scientists have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of this disease. However, some experts believe that anxiety disorders can affect the following factors:

  • Genetics: Many scientific studies have found that anxiety disorders can be triggered by the effects of genetic factors. According to sharing from mental health experts, people who live and were born in families with relatives who have had anxiety disorders or related diseases have a higher rate of disease than people who live and are born in a family. with normal levels.
  • Environmental: Anxiety disorders can also occur if a person is regularly exposed to stressful events. Certain events can increase the risk of an anxiety disorder such as violence, abuse, sudden death of a loved one, ongoing illness, financial problems, marriage, and more.
  • Due to the effects from the use of certain drugs for treatment or abuse of addictive substances such as alcohol, drugs, tobacco, caffeine, etc.

Anxiety disorders include a group of related conditions, and each has its own unique symptoms and signs. However, most forms of illness will have certain things in common, especially persistent and excessive anxiety and fear for no reason or in non-dangerous situations.

Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Always feeling scared and insecure
  • Feelings of tension, nervousness, excitability, impatience.
  • Restlessness, irritability, anger for no apparent reason
  • There are always negative, bad thoughts and predictions and tend to want to watch out for everything around, especially signs that they think are warning of danger.
  • Heart arrhythmia, fast and strong heartbeat, difficulty breathing.
  • Body sweat a lot, hands and feet shaking, people convulsing.
  • Frequent feeling of fatigue, headache, dizziness.
  • Sleep disturbances, insomnia, not sleeping well, or waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble getting back to sleep.
  • Digestive disturbances, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort.
  • Constantly urinating

Common types of anxiety disorders today

According to experts, anxiety disorders exist in many different forms. Being able to identify the type of anxiety disorder plays an important role in the process of developing a treatment plan and helping the patient recover better. Here are some of the most common types of anxiety disorders:

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder, also known as GAD for short, is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive feelings of worry and restlessness. This condition will last for most of the day and will last continuously for a minimum of 6 months. Patients may feel anxious about some issues happening around in life, such as work, health, family, social relationships, etc.

Patients may feel fear, anxiety, and insecurity about many different things happening around their lives, and it can affect daily activities, even health. Typically, the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder have a delayed onset compared with other forms of anxiety disorder, although many sufferers have reported feeling anxious and extremely insecure for many years at a time. .

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Rối loạn lo âu lan tỏa là một dạng rối loạn lo âu phổ biến nhất hiện nay

In addition, generalized anxiety disorder may also be accompanied by a number of other symptoms. Specifically like:

  • Feeling stressed, in pain, restless.
  • The body is easily tired and lacks energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating, impaired memory, difficulty making daily decisions.
  • Sensitive, excitable, irritable for no apparent reason.
  • Having some problems related to sleep such as insomnia, not sleeping deeply, tossing and turning, or having nightmares, waking up easily, etc.

2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is also one of the most common types of anxiety disorder. The condition is persistent and is often more likely to develop into a chronic form. Patients will be driven, lose control of their emotions, behaviors, thoughts, they will have repeated gestures and actions with the aim of reducing stress and anxiety.

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This condition, if it continues for a long time, will affect the daily life of the patient and those around him. Currently, scientific studies are still unable to determine the specific cause of the disease. However, they also mentioned some factors that can influence obsessive-compulsive disorder such as genetics, stress or stress during pregnancy, after childbirth, brain changes. due to a lack of serotonin in the brain,…

Some common symptoms are:

  • Obsession about cleaning, frequent hand and foot hygiene, constant hand washing, fear of contamination, fear of germs.
  • Always check everything around several times, such as whether the stove is turned off, the gate is locked, the TV is turned off, etc.
  • Obsessions about sex, having forbidden thoughts and not wanting to have sex, are not related to religion or any harm.
  • Having extreme thoughts, being easily provoked, and acting rough with people around or even with yourself.
  • Arrange everything according to a certain rule and order, wanting everything to be neat and perfect.
  • Capable of organization, always have high expectations for assurance.
  • Feeling tormented about relationships with family, friends, co-workers, etc.

These behaviors and thoughts can also be found in people with normal health, but for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, there will be differences. Specifically like:

  • Unable to control and prevent one’s own behaviors, thoughts, and gestures, even though consciously aware that it is abnormal and excessive.
  • They can spend a lot of time in the day doing desired behaviors or even 60 minutes a day, even when they are very busy.
  • Feeling uninterested or stimulated when performing rituals or behaviors, but feeling relaxed and comfortable, quickly getting rid of the anxiety and stress that thoughts cause.

In particular, some patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder also have symptoms of movement disorders. These are usually movements that occur suddenly, last for a short time, and are repeated over and over. Examples include eye movements (squinting, blinking), grimaces, nods, and shrugs. Common sounds often appear such as sniffing, clearing throat, grunting, etc.

On the other hand, OCD also includes many different types such as:

  • Inspection: Patients will have the need to constantly check themselves, their environment, their results for the purpose of limiting damage, damage, omissions, fires, etc.
  • Contamination: Patients will always have an urge to be cleaned, they constantly wash their hands and clean their bodies because they feel dirty, attached to germs.
  • Hoarding: Can’t throw away or give away things that are old or no longer in use.
  • Intrusive thoughts: These thoughts will constantly appear and invade the patient’s mind, making them feel uncomfortable and terrified.

3. Panic disorder – panic disorder

The most common characteristic of people with panic disorder is panic attacks that come on suddenly and then recur again and again. Panic attacks are often intense and intense, they occur quickly, without warning, and often remain at their peak for several minutes.

Usually, symptoms of panic disorder appear in late adolescence or early adulthood. In some cases, due to the obsession and excessive fear of panic attacks, the patient will tend to want to hide, avoid the places that cause the disease to start, the patient will leave the house with the desire to get rid of the panic attacks. panic attacks, this condition is also known as agoraphobic.

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Panic disorder begins with individual episodes of mild anxiety, followed by panic attacks, and then develops into a full-blown panic disorder with severe manifestations. According to the sharing of psychologists, sometimes young children will also have panic reactions, but it is still not clear whether they are accompanied by dangerous thoughts and emotions.

More specifically, in fact, children cannot naturally experience feelings of panic, anxiety, and insecurity without any factors affecting them. For the diagnosis of the disease and spontaneous panic attacks are key and important factors. Here are some symptoms that help identify a person with panic disorder:

  • Always feeling scared, panicking for no apparent reason
  • Cardiac arrhythmia, rapid heartbeat, palpitations.
  • Tired body, shaking hands and feet, sweating a lot.
  • Feeling short of breath, weak breathing.
  • Losing control, unable to control your emotions, thoughts, fears.
  • There is a feeling of impending doom.

4. Social Anxiety Disorder

It is not as simple as being shy and timid when exposed to social situations, but social anxiety disorder also causes a series of feelings of fear about communication. The patient will always feel motivated by worries, fear of rejection, fear of being judged, fear of humiliation, fear of others saying that they are stupid, or anxiety because they do not know what to say.

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People with social anxiety disorder are so worried and scared that they tend not to participate in any large conversations or meetings. They often do not give an opinion or contribute in most meetings, discussions or do not bring up an idea even though it has come to mind. Therefore, these people will often be easily isolated, limited in relationships.

Some of the symptoms that may appear in people with social anxiety disorder include:

  • Trembling limbs, red face, irregular heartbeat, blank mind.
  • Feeling extremely anxious, scared, and uncomfortable around crowds or people they don’t know.
  • Difficulty talking and communicating with others.
  • Feeling nauseous, dizzy, stomachache, restless.
  • Always try to refuse or stay away from places where strangers are present.
  • Feeling extremely awkward and embarrassed in front of other people.
  • Very afraid and worried about the judgment of the people around me
  • Less eye contact, not moving limbs when talking, low voice, indecision, sometimes stuttering.

5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD

Unlike other forms of anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is diagnosed based on a specific cause-and-effect chain. In it, a person will feel grief and fear when first exposed to a traumatic event. They feel anxious, insecure because of the threat to the integrity of the individual, which later develops into this disorder.

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According to research, post-traumatic stress disorder can be triggered by a number of reasons such as disasters, natural disasters, violence, sexual abuse, traffic accidents, fires, wars. The patient will have the following typical symptoms:

  • The person will begin to reminisce about events, traumatic episodes, and traumatic or recurring situations through dreams.
  • The patient will seek to avoid events or details related to the trauma that occurred in the past, and they will also experience some numbness or decreased responsiveness.
  • PTSD patients will have to face many symptoms of increased physiological arousal, especially the feeling of difficulty falling asleep, not sleeping deeply, irritability, fatigue, and excessive agitation.

6. Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is also one of the most common types of anxiety disorder characterized by excessive worry. The patient will have excessive concern, insecurity, or even in many cases feel afraid of separation, separation, or having to face distance from someone who was once close.

According to experts, the symptoms and clinical signs of separation anxiety disorder between adults and children will be different. Because of the impact from the living environment, daily activities and experiences of each person. However, although the manifestations are somewhat different, the symptoms of the disease must be really severe and impair the patient’s quality of life to be identified as SAD.

Some common signs are:

  • Fear of being kidnapped or lost
  • Worrying and suffering to the extreme when leaving loved ones, especially those who have been with them for a long time.
  • Fear of abandonment, fear of being alone at home, fear of feeling lonely.
  • Worrying excessively about something bad that might happen, such as dying or being unable to return.
  • Poor social interaction, often isolated
  • Sleep disturbance, frequent nightmares.
  • Loss of concentration, poor education.
  • Patients may also experience some symptoms such as nausea, headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, asthma attacks, dizziness, increased heart rate, etc.

7. Specific phobias

Feeling afraid, panicking, and obsessed with a specific object or event such as a certain place, object, feeling, or animal is a characteristic manifestation of a specific phobia patient. Because these feelings of fear make the patient tend to avoid causing many negative effects on daily social activities or creating a feeling of suffering and serious hurt.

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Some specific objects that the patient may feel afraid of are:

  • Environment: germs, altitude, sea, mountains, etc.
  • Body: fear of illness, blood, wounds, etc.
  • Animals: dogs, cats, spiders, snakes, insects, rodents,….
  • Sex: feeling of sublimation, orgasm, frequency, fear of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
  • Situation: fear of taking the bus, roller coaster, plane, fear of medical examination, etc.

Diagnosing an anxiety disorder

As shared above, anxiety disorders come in many different forms, and the symptoms can also be easily confused. Therefore, the diagnosis of the disease needs to be carried out by experienced and highly qualified specialists.

Usually, if a person is suspected of having an anxiety disorder, the doctor will conduct an assessment by performing a series of steps such as a general physical examination, asking the patient to take a multiple-choice test, doing the following: Tests help rule out the disease. The diagnosis of an anxiety disorder will be done directly with a psychologist or therapist.

To determine the exact type of anxiety disorder you are having, the doctor will rely on the common symptoms of the patient. According to the American Psychiatric Association criteria, a person with an anxiety disorder should meet the following:

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Excessive worry or fear about an event, activity, problem, etc. This feeling will persist for most days and last for at least 6 months.
Patients will face many difficulties in controlling their own thoughts, behaviors, feelings of fear and insecurity.
Feelings of fear and insecurity seriously affect the patient’s daily life.

Patients with an anxiety disorder will have a minimum of 3 symptoms for adults and 1 symptom for children. At the same time, they will also have accompanying signs such as fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration, restlessness, trouble sleeping, muscle tension.

How to effectively treat anxiety disorders?

Depending on the type of anxiety disorder, the treatment will also be different. After a specific diagnosis of each person’s disease condition, the specialist doctors will consider giving the most appropriate and effective treatment plan. Some commonly used methods are:

1. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is always the first priority method applied to cases of mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders. This is a method of using language and words to exchange and influence the psychology and thoughts of each patient to help them untie the knots in their hearts.

Typically, for most anxiety disorders, psychologists will use behavioral and cognitive therapy (CBT) to conduct therapy. With this therapy, patients will be focused on helping to shape their behaviors, thoughts and reactions in a more positive direction. At the same time, they also know how to control their fear in the face of bad situations.

Cognitive and behavioral therapy also works well in helping patients learn and practice essential skills such as communication skills, adaptive skills, and coping skills. These are considered extremely necessary things for people with anxiety disorders, especially those with social anxiety disorder.

2. Use of therapeutic drugs

For cases of serious illness, symptoms of anxiety and fear are overexpressed, seriously affecting the patient’s health and life, treatment with a number of appropriate drugs will be considered. Although medication does not completely cure anxiety disorders, it can control and relieve the dangerous symptoms of the disease.

Often the patient will be prescribed with some anti-anxiety medication to reduce the signs of extreme anxiety, stress. Benzodiazepine is the drug most commonly used by doctors. In addition, some antidepressants are tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine inhibitors. oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) have also been considered for the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Medication use should be specifically guided and prescribed by a mental health practitioner. Patients are absolutely not allowed to buy drugs on their own, use or change the dosage of drugs. To ensure safety, it is necessary to strictly follow the doctor’s prescription, take the right medicine, at the right dose, and on time. If during the use of the drug, there are any strange signs, it is necessary to notify the specialist for timely treatment and prevention.

3. Other methods

In addition to psychotherapy and medication, patients with anxiety disorders also need to combine a number of other supportive measures. Experts always encourage patients to quickly change and adjust their lifestyle for better health recovery.

  • Exercise regularly to strengthen the body’s resistance and strengthen the immune system. At the same time, in many studies, it has been found that regular exercise will help increase serotonin hormone – this hormone has the effect of creating a feeling of happiness, reducing stress and anxiety effectively. Some exercises should be applied such as yoga, meditation, swimming, jogging, breathing exercises, etc.
  • The diet also needs to be nutritious, supplemented with food groups rich in vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to the brain and mental health. At the same time, it is necessary to limit hot, spicy, greasy foods, canned and processed foods that contain many preservatives.
  • Absolutely do not abuse alcohol, especially while using medication to treat anxiety disorders.
    Maintain a positive lifestyle, learn to control emotions, see problems in a positive and optimistic way. Limit exposure to negative information, tragic and sad content.
  • Ensure quality sleep, avoid staying up late. If you feel insomnia, you should try some effective and safe relaxation methods such as soaking your feet in warm water, listening to music, using aromatherapy, meditation, massage, etc.
  • It is possible to apply some additional methods such as acupressure massage, acupuncture, using herbal tea, hypnosis, etc.

The above article has given some information about the most common types of anxiety disorders today. Accurate examination and diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is important for treatment outcomes. Therefore, if you suspect you have a disease, you need to actively visit a reputable and quality specialist facility for timely support.

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