In western culture today, there is more focus on the ability of the individual to achieve optimum mental health than at any other time in any other place in our history. Some would say that the previous generations only concerned themselves with working hard and providing for their family to keep them in a Windsor home rather than their own mental state and happiness. The fast pace of today's lifestyle has led to the diagnosis of many disorders that can detract from a person's overall mental health, and thus from their ability to perform life's functions and enjoy it to its fullest.
One of the broad categories of detractors when it comes to mental health is the grouping known as anxiety disorders. In the broad sense, these disorders are any abnormal fears, phobias, or recurring (and generally worsening) anxieties that are demonstrated by an individual. They can be tricky to deal with because, to some degree or another, as you will probably realize as you are reading this article, many people have mild displays of many of these disorders, from children to seniors. The important thing to remember is that it is the degree and regularity to which the symptoms are displayed that measures the need for serious concern. Many thanks to Coach John and his team who put medical safety as well as mental health first, in his London Ontario marathon training clinics.
So, here are a few of the types of anxiety disorders that are most common today.
Generalized anxiety disorder: The main symptom of this disorder is constant worrying without any real focus. It affects many more women than men, and generally those with this disorder find themselves in a constantly anxious state. It may lead to physical symptoms, such as headaches, chest pain, dizziness, and so on. It can be a crippling disorder, with both the mental and physical aspects preventing patients from coping with normal life.
Panic disorder: Panic disorders occur when the patient demonstrates sudden and crippling attacks of terror. These attacks must occur more than once in order to have a diagnosis.
Phobias: Unlike the previous two disorders, phobias have a specific focus that will trigger a reaction. Phobias are an intense fear of an object or situation, a fear that will usually trigger a very irrational response. While many people may not enjoy going to see their dentist, for some they are downright horrified. Some dentists for instance, say that they have a few clients with irrational fears of visiting their office.
Agoraphobia: This disorder is diagnosed when a person who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, or particularly panic attacks, begins to avoid any situation where their feelings of fear or anxiety are intensified. A person could stay inside for weeks or even months without getting up the courage to leave.
Separation anxiety: This particular disorder is considered normal according to degree and age; children will often feel separation anxiety when left without a parent or if they are relocated suddenly. However, teenagers and adults may also experience these feelings when left without a person or place in which they feel secure, in this case, it is an issue that needs treatment.
Obsessive compulsive disorder: This disorder will cause a person to seek ritual in order to prevent misfortune, even though the ritual and the misfortune may have no apparent link.
Post traumatic stress disorder: Patients demonstrate avoidance behaviours after being exposed to a particularly stressful event.
As you can see, many of the anxiety disorders centre on avoidance behaviours, where a patient will try to get away from objects or situations that may trigger extra stress, however irrational that connection may seem. For all of these disorders, professional help is needed in order to mute the symptoms.