Are there different kinds of Anxiety and what are they?

Anxiety, in its many forms, has been an evolutionary trait of our species. In previous centuries, it’s proven a useful survival tool in our arsenal. But in our fast modernising world, it is fast becoming a risk to mental and physical health for many.

Other forms of anxiety are:

  • Panic Disorder – This includes recurrent panic attacks which can be triggered by a various number of reasons
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder – This is characterised by an inordinate level of anxiety and worry about what we’d regard as daily occurrences.

 

GAD & Panic Disorder – Signs and Symptoms

Over a prolonged period of time, a medical professional should be able to diagnose GAD and Panic Disorder by symptoms like the following:

  • Shaking or trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating and feeling clammy
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Sudden fear of dying
  • Acute chest pains and discomfort
  • Feeling hot flushes or chills
  • A feeling of irritability
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle Tension
  • Aches and Pains

Panic Disorder is identified as feelings of sudden attacks extreme anxiety. These attacks can range in length and intensity depending on the person.

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GAD and Panic Disorder – How common are they?

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is more common than people think and it is the most commonly occurring form of Anxiety. More than 5-10% of the British population suffers from GAD to some level of intensity.

The number of people that suffer from Panic Disorder is more difficult due to the way it is felt by sufferers.

The most common age that people suffer from GAD is in their 20s. Statistically, women are more at risk of suffering from GAD and Panic Disorders than men.

Regrettably, there still appears to be a stigma and difficulty in identifying the symptoms as only 25% of sufferers diagnosed continue on to receive treatment. Without anxiety counselling treatment, these conditions can lead to the development of more detrimental issues such as Agoraphobia and other mental health conditions such as Depression.

What causes of GAD and Panic Disorder?

GAD and Panic Disorder can be caused by a wide variety of things.

Personal experience is a major contributor to anxious behaviour that could later develop into a wider issue such as GAD and Panic Disorder. A particular event, which causes the sufferer anxiety, can lead to them being conditioned to be instinctually anxious about anything related to that event.

Underlying mental health problems can exacerbate the impact of anxiety. Poor self-esteem and negative coping methods can contribute to escalating issues with GAD and Panic Disorder. This can then lead to issues with personal and professional relationships with others.

Unresolved issues in a sufferer’s past can lead to the increasing impact of GAD and Panic Disorder on everyday life. Trauma such as PTSD and negative influences in the formative years of a child’s life can lead to a worsened level of anxiety.

A lack of social relationships can also be a contributor to problems with anxiety. With no structures of support to help provide an emotional outlet, the individual can find themselves alone and isolated with no way of expressing their anxiety in a constructive way.

Evidence also shows that environmental factors such as observing others. Anxiety observed in others as a child can lead to the imitation of this behaviour.

It’s challenging to identify a single cause of anxiety as people have varied lives and experiences. Others find that their experiences have been repressed, leading to them suffering from anxiety with no clear understanding as to why.

The influence of genetics also plays a key role in the development of anxiety over time. The alterations to a serotonin transporter gene have been associated with the development of GAD.

Medications have also been shown to cause side effects such as panic attacks and Anxiety.

The Stigma and Misunderstandings behind Anxiety

We have all, at some point in our lives, felt the effects of anxiety; so it’s easy to sympathise with those that suffer from it long-term. But while there is a mutual understanding of Anxiety, there are still common misconceptions and stigmas, which profoundly impact on our ability to understand and empathise with sufferers.

While observers of those with anxiety shrug off their behaviour as overly dramatic or completely irrational. Sufferers of Anxiety can’t help the fact that GAD or panic disorder disrupts their day and lives overall. Such stigmas may lead to a worsening of their condition; forcing them into unsociable behaviours such as isolating themselves from others within their social circle or workplace.

Panic Attacks are also misunderstood as a life-threatening condition such as a Heart attack, leading to admissions to the hospital where they would otherwise be unnecessary. This also leads to detrimental behaviour by the sufferer; they may believe they’ve wasted peoples time and resources, causing them to develop longer-term issues such as increasingly low self-esteem and even depression.

What are the criteria for GAD and Panic Disorders

The key attributes of GAD are demonstrated as:

  • Fear and worry
  • Decreased concentration
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of anxiety

Patients that suffer from GAD experience the majority of these symptoms within a week.

Panic Disorders are typically divided into two types: Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia and without. This leaves out Panic attacks due to the effects of medication or from pre-existing medical conditions.

What if the sufferer doesn’t undergo treatment?

Without treatment, Anxiety of any kind can gradually become worse, leading to increased issues with anxiety and the development of other mental health condition.

While sufferers may appear to be undergoing recovery, anxiety is a condition, which can cause relapses depending on the person. Those suffering from Anxiety should seek out medical advice and treatment.

What if I do receive treatment?

Despite misconceptions and stigmas attached to it, treatment for anxiety of any kind holds a significantly high success rate for sufferers. Treatments are always evidence-based and are constantly adapted to assure effectiveness.

Our Approach to treating GAD and Panic Disorder

Our therapists and Counsellors always assure expert and tailor-made support to sufferers of GAD and Panic Disorder. We strive to abide by medical guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

For more information, visit www.nice.org.uk

The recommended approach for GAD and Panic Disorder

We emphasise a psychological approach through the use of counselling and psychiatric therapy. In conjunction, medication may also be required but is dependent on the individual and their specific needs relative to their condition.

Pathways of treatment for GAD and Panic Disorder

The methods of treatment available are varied depending on the course of action decided upon by you and your doctor.

Both psychotherapy and counselling can help in identifying the root causes of the sufferer’s Anxiety. Including how to develop management techniques in order to support good management over time.

Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has also proven highly effective against Anxiety. This is because it provides emotional support for sufferers for them to use on a daily basis. CBT allows for the development of techniques to help with long-term anxiety.

Online Counselling offers services such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques along with promoting personal awareness. Medications have been proven effective alongside longer-term mindfulness and counselling. This depends on the sufferer’s individual needs, however.

Additional Resources to Help with Anxiety

If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety, please do share this with them. Together we can help those with Anxiety get help!

For more information call 0753 718 1090 or email help@online-therapy.company. To book a Virtual Therapy appointment with the Online Therapy Company, please fill in the online booking form.

Author – Dr Aisha Ali – DPsych Couns Psych, ADOS 2 Certified B.Psych (Hons)

Dr Aisha Ali is a highly experienced BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist and Expert witness with over 15 years experience of working within the NHS in complex care and private practice. She has extensive experience of working with individuals, couples and families presenting with complex psychological and emotional issues. Aisha provides life and performance coaching.

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