According to the Mayo Clinic, occasionally experiencing anxiety is a normal part of the human condition. On the other hand, individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders persistently find themselves in excessive fear of and worrying about day to day situations. Generally, people who suffer from anxiety disorders will experience repeated panic attacks, which can be described as episodes in which someone suddenly begins to feel intense terror or anxiety that peaks within a few minutes of onset. In an effort to avoid feelings of panic, individuals may steer clear of certain situations or places.
And for people living with an anxiety disorder, the feelings of panic and anxiety they experience might:
- Last for a long period of time
- Interfere with day to day activity
- Are hard to control
- Are disproportionate to the objective danger present at the time
Symptoms of anxiety may begin as early as childhood and continue into adulthood. For others, signs of anxiety may not appear until their teenage years or adulthood. Some common symptoms and signs of anxiety might include:
- Feelings of weakness or exhaustion
- Difficulty sleeping
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hyperventilation, or breathing rapidly
- Feeling a sense of impending doom, panic, or danger
- Experiencing the urge to avoid situations, people, or things that trigger anxiety
- Feeling tense, nervous, or overall restless
- Having a hard time controlling worry
- Experiencing a heightened heart rate
- Having a hard time thinking about anything other than the thing one is currently worried about
There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders. These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: in this type of anxiety disorder, individuals will experience excessive and persistent worry and anxiety about events and activities, even if they are routine or ordinary. The worry they feel is disproportionate in relation to the real life circumstances, and it will affect their physical state and be difficult to control. Generalized anxiety disorder often appears alongside depression or other anxiety disorders.
- Agoraphobia: individuals who suffer from agoraphobia are afraid of situations or places that make them feel helpless, embarrassed, or trapped; they will often avoid these situations and places.
- Separation anxiety disorder: some children may experience a severe anxiety in relation to being separated from their parents or parental figures; this phenomenon is characterized as a disorder if the children’s worry is excessive for their current developmental level.
- Selective mutism: also found in children, this disorder is characterized by a consistent failure of children to speak in specific situations--like school--even if they are able to speak in other ones, like when they are at home with loved ones.
- Specific phobias: this disorder is characterized by individuals experiencing severe anxiety when exposed to a particular situation or object, as well as the desire to avoid said situations or objects. In some individuals, phobias may cause panic attacks.
- Panic disorder: individuals who suffer from panic disorder experience repetitive episodes in which they feel sudden, intense fear, terror, and anxiety that peaks within a few minutes of onset, also known as a panic attack.
- Social anxiety disorder: this disorder is characterized by individuals feeling extreme anxiety surrounding and avoiding social situations because they may feel excessively self conscious or embarrassed.
- Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition: some individuals may develop an anxiety disorder in response to the onset of a physical health problem they are experiencing.
While there are many different forms of anxiety disorders, there is hope: treatment is available and proven to be highly effective in many cases. Here at Grouport, we offer completely online group therapy. All of our incoming clients will receive a 20-minute initial consultation with a trained mental health professional. We will then match you with the appropriate therapy group, which will meet every week for an hour. You can find more FAQs here.