Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Excessive worry over both big and small issues, whether imagined or real for a period of at least six months. The person feels uncomfortable physical symptoms throughout most of the day and will typically avoid or limit exposure to any situation where an increase in symptoms is likely to occur. People with Generalised Anxiety Disorder often have a history of being a 'worrier'.
Social Anxiety Disorder
A fear of being judged or evaluated negatively and of embarrassing oneself in some way in social or performance situations. A feeling of anxiety in the presence of others, attending social events, or eating/drinking, or writing while someone is watching, walking down the street or being in a crowd. The diagnosis is made when such fears significantly disrupt normal day-to-day functioning.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive and unproductive repetitive thoughts or rituals in order to relieve anxiety or prevent the occurrence of a feared event. Typical behaviours are hoarding, counting, checking or compulsive hand-washing and cleaning.
A panic attack followed by at least one month of intense fear of having another attack. Because of the intensity of the attack most people feel they are having a heart attack or stroke, going to die, go insane or lose control in some way. This can lead to secondary fears about being misdiagnosed or being alone or unable to get help should another attack occur. A lower tolerance to medications seems common. Panic Disorder is often seen in combination with other Anxiety Disorders such as Social Anxiety: 15-30%, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 8-10%, Specific Phobia: 10-20% and Generalised Anxiety Disorder: 25%. Separation Anxiety in children has been associated with Panic Disorder. (DSM IV)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Follows a major life-threatening event such as armed robbery, natural disaster, traffic accident, sexual assault/rape or war experience. Often accompanied by visual flash-backs where the person feels as if he/she is re-living the original trauma; nightmares, hyper-vigilance and an exaggerated startle response. The person may have panic attacks in situations which remind them of the original trauma.