Common Types & Symptoms of Anxiety
by Charles Beeson
Definition of Anxiety:
There are many different types and symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety is a fear based emotional state that is usually created from uncertainty about the outcome of a future event… real or imagined. It is a feeling of nervousness, uneasy tension and dread that can occur with or without a perceived reason or thought process.
This feeling is the result of an influx of adrenaline and other chemicals from a part of the brain responsible for self-preservation during an external threat or dangerous event. This reaction is often referred to as the “Flight or Fight Response”. The intensity of this feeling can range from a very mild state of uneasiness to an extreme state of what’s commonly called an Anxiety Attack or Panic Attack.
Everyone experiences mild anxiety from time-to-time in the form of worry or Anticipation Anxiety. Life events are full of situations in work, school, relationships, finances and social settings that create uncertainty. When we cannot imagine future events completing successfully, we often feel this very common form of anxiety. This everyday type of anxiety is actually beneficial for motivating ourselves to take action.
Every time we think about the ramifications of doing or not doing something, it’s normal to feel a subtle, fearful feeling. An example would be; “thoughts of getting fired if you don’t get to work on time”.
Anxiety can be the primary cause of having difficulty in sleeping (insomnia). You lay awake thinking about an unpleasant situation or future event. This everyday worry and anticipation anxiety can be found in many common activities. These situational fears affect large segments of the general population. Examples are: public speaking, job interviews, work performance reviews and other situations when we perceive we are being judged by others.
Stressful and overwhelming situations during times of loss; such as death, divorce and loss of one’s job, will usually create normal anxiety. Major life changes in our job or where we live, and, having too many commitments and deadlines, can cause this normal form of anxiety.
The term, Performance Anxiety has many different meanings. When a person fears or becomes nervous about ones ability to attempt an activity; such as in sports and athletics, musical performance, stage performance, couples sexual performance, as well as, taking tests and exams; it is often referred to as Performance Anxiety. Each one of these types of activities may have multifaceted, psychological issues that generate anxiety, such as:
- Stage Fright – The fear of being the focused attention of an audience that is judging your performance.
- Fear of Failure – Hating the idea of not meeting one’s own expectations or the expectations of others.
- Anticipation of messing-up by making a mistake during the performance activity.
The most common Types of Performance Anxiety Situations are:
I’ve had the privilege of working with many collegiate and professional athletes to help them overcome fears. My experience has been with competitive swimmers, golfers, NFL football and soccer players. Every case involved the 3 issues stated above, as well as, the fear of a specific person; that intimidates them in competition.
Singers and instrumental players may develop performance anxiety from the fear of making a mistake.
Acting & Stage
Movie and dramatic actors often fear forgetting their lines. Fear of audience judgement sometimes affects the most experienced actors.
Test & Exam Anxiety
The experiencing of dread and terror before (anticipation anxiety) and during the taking of a test or exam. This type of anxiety affects the ability to mentally focus and recall information needed to correctly answer test questions. This type of performance anxiety occurs with students of all ages and professions requiring competency testing; CPAs, Attorneys, etc.
Sexual Performance Anxiety
Fear of not pleasing a sexual partner during intercourse; fear of premature ejaculation can create anxiety that can result in sexual dysfunction. The physical physiology manifest in men as psychological erectile dysfunction and in women as vaginal lubrication dysfunction. Past memories of bad sexual experiences and religious belief s can compound the problem.
When anxiety becomes extreme and affects how you function throughout the day, or, persists over long durations of time (many months), it is possible that you may be diagnosed by a physician or mental health professional with an Anxiety Disorder.
The following Anxiety Disorders are considered to be the most common:
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) also referred to as Free-Floating Anxiety
GAD is a (seemingly) uncontrollable disorder with excessive worry, fear and tension exhibited throughout the day… without a rationalreason. It is characterized by frequent thoughts of disaster and worse-case outcomes of one’s: safety, safety of loved ones, finance. health, work, and relationships. It lasts for at least 6 months or more, exhibiting symptoms of the inability to relax during the day or sleep at night, shortness of breath, chest pain, irritability, nausea, trembling and lack of mental focus. It can seriously impact personal relationships and job performance.
• Panic Disorder
Panic Attacks are intense periods of anxiety that have the extreme physical characteristics of a pounding rapid heart rate, trembling, sweating and shortness of breath. They usually last from 3 to 5 minutes, but, can subside and repeat several times in succession. This results in the fear of having a heart attack. dying or becoming insane. But, the greater fear is that of having another panic attack. This form of anticipation anxiety creates a lasting state of fear, that can easily trigger another panic attack. This on-going, relapsing – remitting condition is called a Panic Disorder.
• Social Anxiety Disorder
The most common of all anxiety disorders is social phobia, now called, Social Anxiety Disorder, (SAD). It is an intense fear of engaging with other people on a social basis or in work situations because of the perceived possibility of rejection, being judged and humiliated by others. Most individuals with SAD, also, have a severe fear of public speaking, (glossophobia). It seriously impairs the ability to make friends, have romantic relationships and participate in group discussions, as well as, perform well in job interviews and school.
A phobia is an irrational fear that can range from nervousness to an excessive and intense state of panic. It is one of the most common mental disorders. A phobia is usually associated with the fear of a situation, such as fear of flying, fear of public speaking or fear of leaving home or going to places where you fear you might have an anxiety attack., as in Agoraphobia. There are many different types of specific phobias. Some are listed here with descriptions.
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a persisting mental, stress condition, resulting from a traumatic experience that is life threatening or overwhelming. This stressful memory is often emotionally charged with fear, anger, and/or sadness. Many sufferers of this disorder are victims of wartime battle, rape, or other catastrophic events . Symptoms include memory flashbacks, anxiety and panic attacks, night-time terrors, difficulty sleeping, periodic reality and social disconnects, irritability PTSD can negatively affect personal relationships and work.
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD is an anxiety disorder consisting of having uncontrollable and repetitive, negative thoughts that are unreasonable; that, in-turn, cause uncontrollable and repetitive behaviors. This can lead to ritualistic behaviors that can vary in frequency, severity and type of behavior overtime. This disorder can become greatly disabling to an individual’s quality of life.
All of the above types of anxiety can be overcome with many available treatments; such as, cognitive behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, results usually require many months of weekly counseling sessions. The InstaCalm® Anxiety Relief Program was created to achieve very fast results within just a few weeks. The program is considered to be a complimentary/alternative form of therapy and lacks the support of clinical studies. Irregardless, hundreds of clients claim to be in-control of their anxiety after having completed the basic, 5 session program.
Personalized, one-0n-one, coaching treatment is available if you live in the San Jose or San Francisco Bay Area of California. You can also obtain long-distance, Anxiety Coaching Sessions, using the same process, by phone or Skype. It begins with a FREE phone consultation. Immediate Anxiety Relief may be also obtained with many Self-Help Tools and Techniques offered in the website’s onlne program.