What is an Anxiety Disorder?
The term Anxiety Disorder is a general term for a group of disorders that share a variety of anxiety-related conditions. All of the anxiety disorders have one symptom in common, an excessive worry or fear about something that would not usually bother most people. The symptoms of anxiety are both psychological and physical in nature. Each individual anxiety disorder refers to a group of anxiety symptoms and specific anxiety triggers. Panic Disorder, for example, will cause an increased heart-rate, breathing difficulties and often accompanied by a sense of dread and being out of control.
In many respects, the anxiety disorder categories are artificial divisions, as the underlying mechanism of anxiety at a physiological and neurological level is similar for all anxiety disorders. They only really differ in terms of the thought processes that trigger and maintain the anxiety. Due to the somewhat artificial nature of the anxiety disorder categories, people will often find that their symptoms will not fit neatly into any one single disorder, as they will often be experiencing symptoms of more than one anxiety disorder at the same time.
The actual underlying cause of the anxiety itself can often be complex and unclear, as it usually arises from a combination of a person’s psychological history, environmental factors, and genetic predisposition.
Symptoms of anxiety may include:
PLEASE NOTE: If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms then get them checked out by a doctor. It is important for you to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Do not self-diagnose.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is persistence and excessive anxiety or worry about events or activities which may or may not happen.
Panic Disorder is the fear of having a spontaneous panic attack. The intensity of the attack can be extremely severe and many people feel they are having a heart attack and/or are going to die or are going insane. Many people develop panic disorder following a major life stress or a build up of stress. Major life stress can include a death of a loved one, moving home, loss of employment, relationship problems, financial problems, a physical illness, birth of a child etc.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the experience of obsessive, unwanted thoughts and/or compulsive behaviours. This can include repetitive behaviours such as cleaning, checking, counting, repeating words silently, or hand washing.
Social Anxiety is the experience of fear, anxiety or panic in social situations. People may fear embarrassing themselves or making a fool of themselves in some way.
Specific Phobias are an excessive fear about a specific thing (animals, heights, flying, blood etc.) The object or situation is avoided or provokes extreme anxiety. People with an anxiety disorder can also experience a number of different symptoms as a result of their disorder.
Somatoform Disorder is a fear of having a serious, yet undiagnosed health condition. Often accompanied by obsessive checking of the body. Visits to the doctor and other specialists only provide temporary reassurance before doubts creep back in. More commonly referred to as Hypochondria.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the experience, or witness of, or confrontation with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death, or serious injury, or threat of physical injury of self or others. The major feature of PTSD is the reliving of the event through dreams, nightmares or flashbacks.
Commonly treated examples of anxiety are public speaking anxiety, performance anxiety, social anxiety, blushing, interview anxiety, exam nerves, health anxiety, fear of flying, financial and economic worries and driving anxiety.
About the Author
Nigel Magowan is a Manchester based UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist, Life Coach, a Licensed NLP Master Practitioner, and a Clinical Hypnotherapist. He combines all his training, skills and experience to produce a flexible treatment that is tailored to your specific needs.
Since 2002 he has had his own busy full-time Psychotherapy, Counselling, EMDR, Life Coaching, NLP and Hypnotherapy practice in Chorlton, South Manchester.
He helps people with anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, complex trauma, bereavement, stress management, addictions, anger, IBS, depression, pain control, confidence and self-esteem, insomnia, public speaking and performance anxiety, fears, phobias, eating disorders, and study and sport performance enhancement.
He is a fully UKCP accredited and registered psychotherapist; an Accredited member of the Community for Contemporary Psychotherapy; a senior member of the General Hypnotherapy Register; an Approved Anxiety UK Therapist; a Professional Member of the Association for Neuro-Linguistic Programming (ANLP); a member of the EMDR Association of UK and Ireland.