There’s a tendency to consider anxiety to be a single condition, and to equate anxiety with being or feeling “nervous”. In reality, this is an oversimplification. From a diagnostic perspective, anxiety actually encompasses a number of different conditions, each with a unique symptomology. Treatment of the various anxiety disorders is also mostly unique, though there may be overlap in some places.

The most common anxiety form by far is generalized anxiety disorder, the standby diagnosis for an anxious condition. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by chronic worry, chronic tension, chronic irritability, that doesn’t appear to have a specific cause or is more intensive than would seem reasonable. Generalized anxiety, in additional to being rather typical, is also quite responsive to various treatment forms.

Another anxiety form is panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterized by sudden, unpredictable terror feelings. The unpredictable nature of panic disorder — symptoms can happen at any time and are generally not attached to a particular event — can cause those with panic disorder to live in perpetual fear of suffering further panic attacks. Panic disorder is typically treated with forms of counseling therapy and / or psychiatric drugs.

The third anxiety form is phobias. A phobia is a fearful reaction to something that is so profound it affects patterns of behavior. A person with a phobia of some thing may go to exceptional lengths to avoid coming into contact with their fear cause. The baseline treatment for phobias is to train those with a phobia to cope with whatever it is they’re afraid of. Anti-anxiety agents and anti-depressants may be used in phobia treatment.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is the final, most severe, anxiety form. Post-traumatic stress disorder, known in shorthand as PTSD, is delayed trauma response after an especially stressful experience. The symptoms of PTSD are usually forms or exceptional agitation, and are typically chronic in nature. Psychotherapy is a baseline form of treatment for PTSD. Psychiatric drugs may also be added to treatment.

All anxiety forms that meet a formal diagnosis are characterized by consistency and duration. Having a singular or infrequent anxious reaction isn’t typically going to meet the standard for a diagnosis of anxiety. Consistency in symptoms is key.

If help is sought for an anxious condition, it’s relevant and important to distinguish one’s symptoms. Presenting a medical practitioner with a claim of anxiety is showing a considerable lack of detail. Describing specific anxious symptoms that one is feeling is vital to ensuring successful treatment.

Zinn Jeremiah writes on a number of different topics. Access more of Zinn’s work at article exchange. For help with anxiety, visit anxiety help.

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