What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder
This condition mostly happens to children or teens, who may worry about being away from their parents. Children with separation anxiety disorder may fear that their parents will be hurt in some way or not come back as promised. It happens a lot in preschoolers. But older children and adults who experience a stressful event may have separation anxiety disorder as well.
Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder
If you identify with any of the following seven signs and symptoms, and they just wont go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:
What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder
This section provides an overview of the most common types of anxiety disorders.
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder
GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel on edge and alert to your surroundings.
This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating.
It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD.
GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.
You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.
Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.
You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.
Social anxiety disorder
Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.
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Anxiety Disorder Statistics And Prevalence
Every country has its own unique mental health statistics, but for the purposes of this article, we’re going to use the statistics in the United States because those statistics are more readily available.
Remember, there is more than one anxiety disorder – from generalized anxiety disorder to panic disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder and more.
Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to the primary symptom of excessive and irrational fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread.
- Watching for signs of danger.
- Anticipating the worst.
- Feeling like your minds gone blank.
But anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the bodys fight-or-flight response, it also involves a wide range of physical symptoms, including:
- Pounding heart.
- Shaking or trembling.
Because of these physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is finally recognized.
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What Are The Five Major Types Of Anxiety Disorders
The five major types of anxiety disorders are:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors . Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
- Social Phobia Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation – such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others – or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
How Common Are All Anxiety Disorders
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are currently 40,000,000 people in the United States living with an anxiety disorder, or approximately 18% of the population. Again, this number only refers to those currently living with a diagnosable anxiety disorder – not those living with anxiety that need help but don’t qualify for a diagnosis, or those that lived with anxiety for years but have since cured it. If those were included, the number could be as much as double if not more.
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What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
- Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.
The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And Depression
Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse , its important to seek treatment for both conditions.
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How Generalised Anxiety Disorder Is Treated
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can ease your symptoms.
- medicine such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
With treatment, many people are able to control their anxiety levels. But some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods when your symptoms worsen.
Is There An App For That
There are a variety of mobile phone apps for anxiety, stress, depression and general mental health. They can help you learn about your condition, figure out whether your medication is working, record details about your symptoms and, in some cases, provide tools to help you manage mental health problems. The Health Navigator team has reviewed some mental health and wellbeing apps that you may like to consider.
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Common Types Of Anxiety: Panic Disorder
Suffering from frequent, recurring panic attacks is the main symptom of panic disorder. Panic attacks are sudden, severe feelings of anxiety that come with significant physical symptoms. These panic attack symptoms include:
- Elevated heart rate
Now, many people will experience a panic attack in their lifetime. However, if your panic attacks are happening more than once a year or so, you may have a panic disorder. Note that many common types of anxiety come with panic attacks as a symptom, but panic disorders are unique in that they come without the day-to-day anxiety symptoms of the other mental illnesses on this list.
Panic Attacks Are A Common Symptom
A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense terror that may occur in certain situations or for no apparent reason. A panic attack does not mean a person is necessarily suffering an anxiety disorder. However, a panic attack is a common feature of each type of anxiety disorder. Symptoms of a panic attack may include:
- Shortness of breath
The cause of panic attacks is unknown, but they may be related to a chemical response in the brain, caused by actual threatening or stressful events or by thinking about stressful events. The brain response leads to physiological changes in the body, such as shallow breathing and rapid heartbeat.
Panic attacks can be frightening. Some people say they feel like they are going to die or go crazy. People affected by panic attacks may avoid situations in which they think attacks might occur. In some cases, this may lead to the development of other anxiety disorders including agoraphobia.
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Anxiety Can Also Be A Problem
While its pretty clear that anxiety is normal and even beneficial, for many people, it becomes a problem. The main difference between normal anxiety and problematic anxiety is between the source and the intensity of the experience.
Normal anxiety is intermittent and is expected based on certain events or situations.
Problem anxiety, on the other hand, tends to be chronic and irrational, and it interferes with many life functions. Avoidance behavior, incessant worry, and concentration and memory problems may all stem from problem anxiety.
These symptoms may be so intense that they cause family, work, and social difficulties.
The components of problem anxiety include the physical responses to the anxiety , distorted thoughts that become a source of excessive worry, and behavioral changes affecting the usual way a person lives life and interacts with others. Problem anxiety may lead to or reflect an anxiety disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder , for example, is defined as “the presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least six months and is clearly excessive,” along with physical and cognitive symptoms of anxiety, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Final Note About Anxiety Statistics
It’s also important to mention that these statistics only refer to those with a diagnosable disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental health issues.
It’s possible to suffer from anxiety or panic attacks but not qualify for a diagnosis. It’s also possible to qualify for a diagnosis but be unaware that your anxiety is considered severe enough. It’s also possible that you don’t realize you have anxiety at all. This is especially common with panic attacks, as those that do not know much about anxiety disorders often believe that they have a health problem.
So while the following statistics are interesting, they shouldn’t define your anxiety. If you feel that you have anxiety, you should seek treatment. It doesn’t matter how severe it is or whether or not you qualify for a diagnosis.
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Anxiety Statistics By Education Levels
- Americans with higher education are less likely to have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety affects 3.9 million adults who have less than a high school education, 3.3 million who have graduated high school, 2.8 million with some college, and 3 million who had a college education or more.
- One Canadian study found that for each additional level of education, people were 15% more likely to see a psychiatrist.
- Anxiety is the highest concern for counseling services in college. Of the college students receiving counseling services, 41.6% are seen for anxiety.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated
An anxiety disorder is like any other health problem that requires treatment. You cant will it away. Its not a matter of self-discipline or attitude. Researchers have made a lot of progress in the last few decades in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will tailor a treatment plan that works for you. Your plan may combine medication and psychotherapy.
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Rates Of Anxiety And Co
- Depression: Anxiety and depression are closely linked, with 61.2 percent of people who experience a generalized anxiety disorder during their lifetimes also experience a major depressive disorder.
- Mania: Approximately 3.1 percent of people with lifetime generalized anxiety disorder will also experience mania.
- Substance Use Disorders:Anxiety disorders and substance abusecan occur together, as 42.8 percent of people with lifetime generalized anxiety disorder will also experience a substance use disorder during their lives.
Treating Children And Adolescents
Whereas specific phobias, SAD, and separation anxiety disorder are common in younger people, PDA and GAD are relatively rare. There are some randomized, placebo-controlled studies of pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents showing efficacy of sertraline, fluoxetine, and duloxetine in young patients with GAD, of venlafaxine and paroxetine in SAD, and of sertraline, fluvoxamine, and fluoxetine in mixed samples, including patients with separation anxiety disorder, GAD, and SAD. However, little is known about the value of long-term treatment. The combination of CBT and sertraline was found to be more effective than both treatment modalities alone.
For children and youths with separation anxiety disorder, several treatment studies exist. However, no controlled studies on the treatment of adults with this disorder could be traced.
There is also a paucity of treatment studies for children with selective mutism. Small studies have shown that psychotherapeutic approaches were at least better than waitlist controls., One review indicated that only two very small placebo-controlled drug studies showed efficacy of the SSRIs fluoxetine and sertraline.
Anxiety Can Be Normal And Beneficial
There is an infinite number of human experiences that cause normal anxiety. Life offers us the experience of many anxiety-provoking firsts,” such as a first date, the first day of school, the first time away from home.
As we journey through life, there are also many important life events, both good and bad, that cause varying amounts of anxiety. These events can include things such as, taking a school exam, getting married, becoming a parent, getting divorced, changing jobs, coping with illness, and many others.
The discomfort anxiety brings is considered normal and even beneficial.
Anxiety about an upcoming test, for example, may cause you to work harder in preparing for the exam. The anxiety you feel when walking through a dark and deserted parking lot to your car will cause you to be alert and aware of your surroundings.