Anxiety afflicts millions of people across the United States and beyond.
While it varies in severity, people who suffer from anxiety often share specific symptoms.
Unfortunately, social and mental health disorders are still not commonly discussed, so it can be hard to know if you or someone you love has anxiety and what to do about it.
But that’s exactly what we’re discussing today. These are the common symptoms of anxiety disorders, and how to treat them.
1. Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common, and certainly the most discussed, anxiety disorders. It is most common for social anxiety disorder to first appear when you are a pre-teen and into your teenage years. But, it can also afflict adults later in life as well.
Common Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms:
- Feeling overwhelmed by everyday social occurrences.
- Overly self-conscious when in social situations, be it at a party, in class, or just walking through the supermarket.
- Obsessed by the feeling that other people are talking about you and judging you.
- Feeling overly embarrassed when it comes to opportunities others seem to take in their stride, such as public speaking.
These are the hallmark symptoms experienced by someone with social anxiety disorder/social phobia.
Common Social Anxiety Disorder Treatments:
- Psychotherapy, during which you confront the anxiety you feel in specific situations in order to turn them into positive experiences.
- Medications, such as antidepressants.
- Support groups that allow you to chat with people who have social anxiety, with the goal of overcoming your phobias together.
2. Panic Disorder
Panic disorders are characterized by a feeling of intense panic brought on by fear in a given situation. Panic disorders can be so overwhelming they may cause a health emergency.
Common Panic Disorder Symptoms:
- An overwhelming feeling of fear
- Difficulty breathing
- Sweats and heart palpitations
- Symptoms may be so intense you think you’re choking or having a heart attack.
Common Panic Attack Treatments:
- Antidepressant medications
- Psychotherapy, to help you address the source of your panic attacks.
- A plan to manage symptoms. Your doctor may discuss strategies to reduce the occurrence of your panic attacks, such as avoiding places that trigger your fear.
3. Phobia-Specific Anxiety
There are anxiety disorders that are caused by specific phobias. Though the phobias themselves may be diverse, they have similar symptoms and treatment plans.
Common Phobia-Specific Anxiety Symptoms:
- Fear of an object or situation beyond what’s expected.
- Choosing to avoid an object or situation due to intense fear.
- An inability to concentrate and intense need to flee when you find yourself near your phobia.
- Overhauling your life in order to avoid the phobia, such as traveling cross-country by car or train due to an intense flying phobia.
Common Phobia-Specific Anxiety Treatments:
- Antidepressant medications
- Psychotherapy in order to confront and overcome the phobia.
- Support groups, to share your experiences with others.
4. What Causes Anxiety Disorders Anyway?
Scientists have discovered many causes that can trigger anxiety disorders in people young and old.
Most Common Causes of Anxiety Disorders Include:
- Drug or alcohol addiction withdrawal
- Childhood abuse
- Chronic health conditions
5. Less Common Anxiety Disorder Treatments
If a doctor diagnoses you as having an anxiety disorder, it may not be surprising.
Most people, however, are less than thrilled at the prospect of taking an antidepressant or attending therapy for life. This is why alternatives or add-ons to more traditional treatments are popular.
Less Common Treatments Include:
- Magic mushrooms: psychedelic mushrooms contain a compound called psilocybe that may be as effective as antidepressant medication in treating depression.
- A change in diet: people who eat a diet rich in nutrients are less likely to suffer severe anxiety disorder symptoms.
- A lifestyle change: people may take up a new hobby, add new fitness goals, or move somewhere less likely to trigger their anxiety, all to decrease their anxiety disorder symptoms.
Experiencing an anxiety disorder on any level is not fun.
But it’s crucial to know that countless people just like you have an anxiety disorder and that there are many effective treatment options.
If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder, be sure to consult with your doctor. They may recommend medication or a few lifestyle changes that halt your anxiety and help you feel like yourself again.