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Anxieties are part of life. They’re the residual of instincts that kept our ancestors alive for thousands of years. Having a healthy amount of fear prevents us from getting hurt and stumbling into dangerous situations. The problem with anxieties are, however, that they’re sometimes not healthy at all.
Many of the anxieties people suffer from today are based on little to no realistic dangers. However, it seems as if anxieties of the modern age are not a bit less scary than the fears our ancestors faced in their times.
Some anxieties are based on social awkwardness while others are more specific in the subject the sufferer fears. Other forms of anxieties are based on the mere feeling of unease the sufferer feels during certain kinds of situations. These situations are for other people, who are not suffering from the anxiety disorder, while the sufferer experiences them with an increased level of sensitivity.
In order to get a clearer glimpse at the most common kinds of anxieties in today’s world, we’ll take a look at the most recognizable ones and try to demystify what they mean, how they manifest themselves in real life and how they can be treated.
Social anxiety disorder
The first anxiety disorder on our list is one of the most common mental health conditions today. With over 15 million diagnosed cases of social anxiety in the United States alone, it’s the second largest anxiety disorder to date.
Symptoms of this mental health condition include not being able to participate in social events, having trouble speaking to strangers, fear of embarrassing oneself, fear of using public toilets, eating in front of others, making eye contact and so on.
As you can see, this kind of anxiety causes the sufferer to miss out on important social events and can even prevent them from achieving important life goals if the condition is in an advanced state.
Social anxiety or social phobia is tricky to diagnose as it’s often confused with the common feeling of being nervous. Being nervous is completely normal and has many positive side effects in overcoming obstacles and achieving life goals. A normal amount of jitters, as this kind of nervousness is often referred to, is necessary in pushing us to our limits and preventing us in doing small mistakes.
However, social anxiety is something completely different and should not be mistaken for the common jitters or stage fright. It’s a much more complex mental health condition which requires treatment and is considered one of the most common mental illnesses of the 21st century.
Treatments for social anxiety disorder include psychotherapy, prescription drug, holistic treatments like PanicMiracle, meditation and others.
Generalized anxiety disorder
This kind of anxiety is one that’s not easy to recognize. At the same time, those who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder or GAD are, most of the time, going to be feeling worried and anxious without any clear reason for such emotions.
The worries sufferers of GAD feel reach into all aspects of their lives; from family and private life to work-related situations, they always feel uneasy about the situation they’re in. This anxiety type can lead to severe damages to the psyche, induce horrible amounts of self-consciousness and a lack of confidence and can even lead to long-term clinical depression.
Understanding what the sufferers of this mental health condition feel is not always easy and is maybe best understood if we try to look at it from our perspective. Most of us feel self-conscious or uneasy right before important decisions or public events like speaking in public or being interviewed for a job. Now, imagine having that feeling constantly switched on and never being able to shut it down.
There are extensive psychotherapeutic treatments and approaches towards GAD that have been quite successful in the past. Natural treatments and lifestyle changes are also able to get astonishing results in helping those who suffer from this condition.
The most well-known anxieties are definitely phobias. Most of us have different phobias and we all succumb to them in various extents. Some of us are afraid of heights which is known as acrophobia, others are afraid of spiders known as arachnophobia; there are even people who are afraid of the feeling of being afraid. This condition is known as phobophobia.
Looking at these examples, it comes as no surprise that this type of anxiety is the most common anxiety type all around the world. Most of us suffer from it, sometimes even without being aware of it.
Phobophobia is especially interesting as it’s basically a fear of fear, and thus can cause a variety of anxieties (including GAD) which is not a specific phobia whatsoever.
There are many different treatments for phobias, depending on the specific kind one suffers from. Mostly, they’re based on psychotherapy, while other treatments advocate confronting the specific subject of the phobia in order to eradicate it from the psych of the sufferer.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
As we’ve mentioned a few times before, having a certain degree of fear is healthy and can prevent us from making mistakes. Double checking if you’ve locked your apartment is considered to be a form of healthy anxiety. However, if those habits of checking various things become recurring, there is a chance of becoming obsessed with that particular thought.
This type of anxiety is known as obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD for short. The sufferer of this mental health condition is often characterized by being ashamed of carrying out his or her compulsions. Because of this, there is a big problem in diagnosing this anxiety in time. The sufferer simply keeps his OCD a secret from the rest of the world, while still carrying out all of the compulsions he or she obsesses about.
OCD is not to be confused with regular tidiness. Although, many OCD sufferers have a compulsion to keep everything clean at all costs, this is not the only symptom of OCD. Others include involuntary visions of images and thoughts that are very intrusive in their nature and may cause serious mental health problems.