According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.” While staggering, this number has only increased since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the numbers are continuing to rise. This is why it is more critical than ever to be able to spot the warning signs of the different types of anxiety disorders to get people the professional mental health care they need sooner than later.
While there are many treatment program options for treating different types of anxiety disorders, one of the most common is through an intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP can be ideal for someone struggling with an anxiety disorder because it can both treat the disorder while also allowing the individual to stay more connected to their lives and loved ones outside of a recovery center.
What Exactly Are Anxiety Disorders?
One of the most important aspects regarding anxiety disorders is that they differ from simply having anxiety. While most – if not all – people will experience some form of anxiety in their lives, the majority of individuals will never meet the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder.
A publication titled Anxiety by Suma P. Chand and Raman Marwaha offers a comprehensive bifurcation between anxiety and anxiety disorders. It explains that “anxiety is linked to fear and manifests as a future-oriented mood state that consists of a complex cognitive, affective, physiological, and behavioral response system associated with preparation for the anticipated events or circumstances perceived as threatening.” In other words, anxiety is merely how the body processes extreme emotions in response to external situations.
The publication also explains that anxiety disorders are “triggered when there is an overestimation of perceived threat or an erroneous danger appraisal of a situation which leads to excessive and inappropriate responses.” So, ultimately this is the body showing a heightened excess of anxiety toward external situations.
The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
As with other mental illnesses, anxiety disorders do not exist as a sole diagnosis. There are multiple types of anxiety disorders, and there are even subtypes within each type of anxiety disorder.
While there are many variations of anxiety disorders, there are four anxiety disorders that are considered to be the most common. These include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD), and various phobia-related disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAD is the most common anxiety disorder in the U.S. Its characteristics include, but are not limited to:
- Experiencing excessive and persistent worry regarding issues that most would deem common day-to-day occurrences
- Difficulties with controlling anxiety when confronted with stressful situations
- Disorganized sleeping patterns, including sleeping too little (insomnia) and/or sleeping too much
- Issues with concentration and focus and/or feeling as if one’s mind has “gone blank” during important tasks
This type of anxiety disorder is perhaps the most visible anxiety disorder because it is characterized most commonly by its symptom of the “panic attack.” The following are some of the other characteristics of panic disorder:
- Avoiding certain situations for fear of having a panic attack
- Experiencing excessive sweating prior to a panic attack
- Persistent worries about “going crazy” or having an excessive and unreasonable fear of dying
Social Anxiety Disorder
Unsurprisingly so, social anxiety is potentially one of the most relatable forms of anxiety that people share. However, it is important to remember that feeling some anxiety in a social situation is much different than what an individual diagnosed with SAD will feel. Signs and symptoms of SAD include:
- Avoiding social situations, for fear of how one will be perceived by others
- Having consistent worries about what others think of them
- Lacking self-worth or feeling unable to find one’s “place in the world”
Many people mischaracterize and minimize phobia-related disorders because of how they have been characterized in television and movies. However, a phobia-related disorder is much more than being “afraid” of a certain thing. Signs of phobia-related disorders include:
- Experiencing intense anxiety around a certain object or situation that one may feel physically ill
- Feeling anxiety that persists long after a seemingly threatening situation has passed
- Experiencing anxiety when merely thinking about a certain object or situation
IOPs for Treating the Types of Anxiety Disorders
While anxiety disorders can certainly be very severe, for most people struggling with an anxiety disorder, an IOP is the best option for treatment. An IOP allows for an individual to work a program of therapeutic recovery while also utilizing the tools that they are learning in their everyday lives.
Here at the Phoenix Recovery Center, we have many programs of treatment that range from residential to outpatient to help our clients recover. The most important part of these programs is that we customize them on an individualized basis for each client that comes to us for help.
At the Phoenix Recovery Center, we don’t just help our clients, we empower them. We don’t simply help clients recover, we help them rediscover their potential so they can go out and live their life to the fullest. For more information on anxiety disorders and how they can be treated with an intensive outpatient program, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.