Addiction Recovery - Dual Diagnosis

What Are the 5 Most Common Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety is a driver of addiction. What are the 5 most common anxiety disorders? #4 might shock you. Learn more in our blog!

What Are the 5 Most Common Anxiety Disorders?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

October 4, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Experiencing feelings of anxiety from time to time is normal. For example, you may experience some symptoms of anxiety before a big presentation or a first date. Anxiety can even be helpful in some cases.

However, it becomes unhealthy when an individual experiences the symptoms of anxiety regularly. This is especially true during recovery. Recovery can really test a person’s mental health, and protecting mental health is a major part of a successful recovery.

The good news is that there is hope. Different treatments can diminish the severity of anxiety disorders, and there are things you can do to manage anxiety as well.

What Is Anxiety? 

Anxiety is more than a common feeling of nervousness. The symptoms of anxiety become especially worrisome when they start affecting your daily responsibilities. For example, anxiety symptoms may lead you to avoid certain situations or places that could cause you distress. They can keep you from sleeping enough, connecting with others, or doing other things to take care of your mental health.

The effects of anxiety can become more severe the longer the anxiety goes untreated by a doctor or mental health professional.

The symptoms of anxiety can vary. The onset of anxiety often happens in childhood or adolescence, but some people with anxiety disorders develop them in adulthood. Studies show that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults in America at some point in their lives.

The 5 Most Common Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a category of mental health disorders that share similar characteristics. However, there are significant differences among different anxiety disorders as well.

The most common anxiety disorders are:

#1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This anxiety disorder occurs when someone experiences chronic anxiety or tension, even if there is nothing necessarily triggering these feelings. Some signs and symptoms to look out for in GAD are feelings of restlessness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, GI trouble, insomnia, and difficulty controlling your feelings of worry.

#2. Panic Disorder (PD)

This disorder is characterized by feelings of sudden and intense fear. Panic attacks can be accompanied or followed by other symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and stomach issues.

#3. Social Anxiety Disorder

This disorder causes excessive self-consciousness in daily social situations. Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can range from fears of public speaking to feelings of social anxiety every time you are around other people. Some signs to look out for in social anxiety are increased heart rate, blushing or sweating, difficulty making eye contact, and feelings of self-consciousness when you are in a social setting.

#4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This anxiety disorder consists of daily negative and unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors. Repetitive behaviors associated with OCD can be different for different people, but they can involve things like constant hand washing, cleaning, counting, praying, or performing various superstitious rituals. Regardless of what repetitive behavior is performed, it is done in an attempt to attempt to make the negative/unwanted thoughts go away.

The compulsivity experienced by people who have OCD may put them at a greater risk of developing or maintaining an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

#5. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This anxiety disorder develops from exposure to a traumatic event. About half of adults experience at least one significant trauma in their lives, whether that trauma involves an assault, accident, military combat, or something else.

Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders

The risk factors for each anxiety disorder can vary; however, some risk factors apply to all anxiety disorders. They can be either genetic or environmental factors. Some risk factors include the experience of traumatic events (especially in childhood), feelings of shyness or worry as a child, and a history of anxiety or mental health issues in your family.

There are a few things that can aggravate anxiety. For example, certain substances can cause or aggravate anxiety, such as caffeine and certain drugs and medications. It is important to limit or eliminate caffeine consumption if you struggle with anxiety because it can worsen your symptoms. Some chronic physical conditions can aggravate your anxiety symptoms, such as thyroid issues or heart arrhythmia.

Treatments for Anxiety Disorders

The best place to start with treating or working on reducing symptoms of anxiety would be to seek out a medical professional. This could either be your primary care doctor or a mental health specialist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders.

The treatment they can offer will vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have. In most cases, though, the first form of treatment will be psychotherapy. This form of therapy will allow you to work with a therapist to talk through your anxiety and process your symptoms. One form of psychotherapy that is particularly beneficial for people with anxiety is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Certain medications can also help with anxiety. In some cases, doctors will prescribe antidepressants to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, especially while you are in therapy. Most anxiety disorders can also benefit from both therapy and medication simultaneously. About 50 to 60% of people with anxiety disorders benefit from DBT or antidepressants.

Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Fight Anxiety Disorders

Although many anxiety disorders are unable to be managed without professional treatment, certain lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms of anxiety in the long run. For example, practicing healthy habits daily can improve many different aspects of your life, and anxiety is one of them. By prioritizing a healthy diet, good sleep, daily movement, and meditation, you can improve your overall well-being and potentially improve some of your symptoms of anxiety.

To live a lifestyle that reduces anxiety, you might:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day

  • Prioritize daily movement goals such as reaching a certain number of steps, doing yoga, stretching, running, or going to the gym and lifting weights

  • Limit or avoid alcohol intake

  • Limit or avoid caffeine intake

  • Eat balanced meals that consist of colorful fruits and veggies, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein

All of these lifestyle changes do not have to be accomplished overnight. Lasting change requires time, patience, and consistency. By making these small but meaningful changes to your daily life, you can have a big impact on your future self for your physical and mental health.

Anxiety Can Drive Drug Addiction. The Forge Recovery Center Will Help

The Forge Recovery Center and our team are here for you. We can provide treatment for addiction and/or a dual diagnosis for you or a loved one may need during this scary time.

Untreated mental disorders will make addiction worse. Please contact us today.

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