Anxiety is a natural feeling. It’s our body’s normal response to stress and can even benefit us in certain situations. It warns us of dangerous situations to help us prepare and pay attention. It’s also normal to feel a bit fearful and nervous in some situations like a job interview and when you’re doing something outside of your comfort zone.
However, if you’re experiencing extreme anxiety or one that lasts longer than six months and is getting in the way of your life, you may have an anxiety disorder. It’s different from normal feelings of anxiousness or nervousness since it involves excessive fear. Anxiety disorders are more common than most people think. In fact, they’re one of the most common mental health issues nowadays.
This article will discuss the different types of anxiety disorders and how to deal with and overcome them. There are a number of effective treatments for anxiety disorders that help most people regain control of their lives.
The Different Types of Anxiety
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If you have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), you usually feel excessive worry or anxiety on most days for at least half of the year over a number of everyday things such as work, social interactions, personal health, etc. This anxiety interferes with your daily life, causing problems at work. Here are symptoms you may have a GAD:
Mind going blank or difficulty in concentrating
Feeling restless or on-edge
Hard time controlling feelings of worry
Sleeping problems (insomnia, difficulty staying asleep, or restlessness)
Getting tired easily
People with this type of anxiety disorder experience sudden panic attacks. These attacks are unexpected periods of excessive fear that come on fast and reach their peak within minutes. The attack can be triggered by something such as a feared object or can happen unexpectedly. When someone has a panic attack, they may experience:
Heart palpitations or increased heart rate
Shortness of breath
Feelings of being out of control
People with panic disorder usually worry about when the next attack will occur so they avoid situations or places that can be associated with these attacks which can get in the way of living their lives fully.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is another type of anxiety disorder. People with this disorder have recurrent uncontrollable thoughts (also known as obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (known as compulsions) such as counting, handwashing, cleaning, checking, arranging, or organizing things in a particular, precise way. People with OCD do these things hoping that these will make obsessive thoughts go away. But performing these repetitive behaviors only provides temporary relief and not being able to do them significantly heightens anxiety levels.
Just like people with panic disorder, people with OCD may try to avoid situations that may trigger their obsessions. Or worse, they may turn to alcohol or drugs to calm themselves.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that usually develops after someone experiences a terrifying ordeal in which severe physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events such as military combat, accidents, violent personal assaults, or natural disasters can cause PTSD. But not everyone with PTSD experienced a dangerous event. Some experiences such as the sudden death of a loved one can also trigger PTSD.
People with PTSD may have re-experiencing symptoms such as flashbacks (reliving the trauma that comes with physical symptoms such as sweating and heart palpitation, nightmares, and frightening thoughts. They may also show avoidance symptoms such as staying away from objects, places, or events that can remind them of the traumatic experience and avoiding feelings or thoughts associated with the traumatic event.
PTSD also caused arousal and reactivity symptoms such as feeling tense, being easily startled, sleeping problems, and angry outbursts. People with PTSD can also display cognition and mood symptoms such as distorted feelings of guilt or blame, loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed, and negative thoughts about oneself or the world.
As the term implies, people with this anxiety disorder experience intense anxiety or fear toward social situations. When you have a social anxiety disorder you worry that how you act or behave associated with your anxiety will be criticized by others, making you feel embarrassed. This is why you avoid social situations. You have an intense fear of being judged or humiliated even in everyday situations such as eating in public or engaging in small talk.
And though it’s not classified as a major anxiety disorder yet, let’s talk about health anxiety too
With the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, it’s normal for us to be extra concerned about our health. But those who are suffering from health anxiety tend to feel excessive distress about their health even if they are healthy. They might constantly feel that they have a symptom or symptoms of a severe illness. Their extreme concern about their health consumes them to a point that it interferes with several areas in their life, at school or at work, relationships, or prevents them from doing their daily routines.
Effective Treatments To Overcome Anxiety:
For some people with anxiety disorder, lifestyle changes may be enough to cope with the symptoms. These include eating healthy, exercising regularly, working out, getting enough proper sleep, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, quitting smoking, and meditating.
However, in moderate or severe cases, psychotherapy and medication may be necessary to help you overcome symptoms and lead a more manageable daily life. You may be prescribed medications such as sedatives and antidepressants to balance brain chemistry, prevent episodes of anxiety, and get rid of the most severe anxiety disorder symptoms.
Psychotherapy involves talking with a therapist or psychologist so you can learn strategies and have the tools needed to cope with anxiety when it happens. Psychotherapy can be paired with Intuitive Healing for a more holistic approach to treating anxiety. More commonly, counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists, may suggest Reiki as a complementary alternative treatment as it’s the most popular form of energy healing however as a Reiki Master Teacher and Intuitive Energy Healer, I would say that Reiki is helpful for those who don’t have severe anxiety, for less than six months and not enough for it to be classified as a disorder and Intuitive Healing for those who are experiencing chronic anxiety for more than six months. Intuitive Healing can be a general name however in my practice, it’s three to five times more effective than Reiki itself and it’s more focused on addressing emotional healing, which goes hand in hand with the thoughts in our head, massively supporting our mental health. You can read more about the differences between Reiki and Intuitive Healing here.
During Intuitive Healing sessions, I locate negative emotions stuck in our bodies that cause our anxiety. For instance, our anxiety may be caused by a traumatic experience. Our bodies create an emotional memory of this experience and over prolonged periods it gets stored in a specific area in our body, such as our adrenals causing spikes in cortisol levels (fight or flight responses) making us feel edgy and restless which then impacts our ability to sleep and sleep quality, our level of energy to perform tasks and our concentration levels. This could also lead to weight gain, poor eating habits, and unhealthy addictions such as caffeine, sugar, cigarettes, and more. In extreme circumstances, it could lead to adrenal fatigue, which also heavily impacts our gut’s performance, making it harder to digest, absorb nutrients, and detox well. Through Intuitive Healing, layers of negative emotions around a traumatic memory are released and healed, carrying less weight in our bodies and having significantly less of a negative impact in our present lives and our relationships. Our body will be less prone to experience flee or flight responses unnecessarily and we are able to rest well again, and even with a few more follow up sessions, our body is beautifully adjusted to the new normal, life with less anxiety, or better yet, being free of anxiety.
Essentially, it will help you overcome anxiety by addressing its emotional cause. Intuitive Healing sessions help us unload emotional baggage that has built up through time which causes us to feel extreme anxiety in certain situations. As we experience emotional release during Intuitive Healing, we’ll begin to feel more wholesome, abundant, and free.