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What is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is the feeling of unease or worry that one experiences when faced with a stressful situation. It is a normal human emotion that everyone experience at some point. Normally, people have the ability to cope with anxiety. However, people with anxiety disorders have great difficulty managing these unpleasant feelings. Anxiety causes distress to an extent that interferes with the ability to function normally, and lead an enjoyable life.

There are different types of anxiety disorders:

  • Panic Disorder

Severe panic attacks that occur repeatedly can be characterised as a panic disorder. Panic attacks can be unpredictable, and the fear of experiencing another panic attack usually adds to a person’s anxiety. Panic disorder can be very disabling, especially if you feel it can’t be controlled.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Traumatic events such as accidents, assaults, or any threats to safety can have a huge psychological impact on a person. The exposure of a person to a traumatic experience can lead to an anxiety disorder called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some effects of PSTD include difficulty in sleeping, irritability, feeling of detachment, and terrible nightmares. These feelings are usually linked to an element of the event that had been experienced, and the memories and associated unpleasant effects are often intrusive and overwhelming.

  • Social anxiety disorder

This anxiety disorder is quite common, and is characterised by intense feeling of fear, and a feeling of being judged by others, in social situations. Many experiences of social anxiety disorder appear around adolescence, where it is common to feel the world’s eyes are on us. Social anxiety can deeply impact a person’s social life and education.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Uneasiness, fear, apprehension, and worry resulting from intrusive thoughts are effects of an anxiety disorder called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). People with OCD often have behaviours that are meticulous, perfectionistic, and fixated on specific rituals. Some repetitive behaviors like excessive washing, hoarding, aversion to specific numbers, and unusual rituals are indicators of an OCD. Often OCD is the surface behaviour that is linked to deeply anxious feelings.

  • Phobias

Everyone have their own share of fears. But the severe and persistent fear of something, like an object or a situation, is called phobia. Phobias are specific and can have strong effects on people. Phobias become problematic when the object of the phobia becomes a major focus in thought and behaviour, often then restricting a person’s ability to participate in many parts of life.

Help is available to help you manage these problems. Treatment for anxiety disorders includes working with a psychologist to develop strategies to notice, understand, and challenge unhelpful thoughts. We can also help you to become confident within yourself, and to learn ways to bring your anxious thoughts and behaviours to a level where they no longer control you. Helping kids manage their anxiety often involves enlisting the help from parents to help children understand what is going on for them, and to help remind them of the strategies that will help them feel more in control, and to get calm, and stay calm.