What is an anxiety disorder?
Everyone can experience anxiety from time to time as it is a normal part of living. However, some people are diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder.
If you are experiencing persistent, severe, disabling anxiety which is negatively impacting upon your enjoyment of life and/or is affecting your ability to function effectively at work, home , school or other social settings you may have an anxiety disorder.
What are the anxiety disorders?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM IV) lists the following anxiety disorders:
- Agoraphobia (e.g. fear of leaving the house, fear of traveling in trains, buses,ships, planes, fear of going of bridges or through tunnels, fear of lifts, theatres, cinemas, or having haircuts, fear of being home alone)
- Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia (panic/anxiety attacks which are very severe)
- Agoraphobia without History of Panic Disorder
- Specific Phobia (e.g. fear of :animals, blood, injury, injections, flying, heights)
- Social Phobia (fear of social or performance situations where one may be embarassed, e.g. public speaking, dating, meeting new people, job interviews, participating in meetings, eating in public, writing in public, engaging in small talk etc.)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (This disorder develops after natural disasters such as bushfires and floods or personal disasters such as childhood physical or sexual abuse, rape, attempted murder etc.Sufferers have many anxiety symptoms, e.g. nightmares, panic attacks and intrusive thoughts and generally try to avoid reminders of the trauma they went through
- Acute Stress Disorder (This disorder is similar to PTSD but not as severe and lasts no more than a month)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) -excessive worrying about various topics such as e.g. finances, health, work, study, etc
Although it maybe tempting to self diagnose an anxiety disorder, it is important to consult a qualified mental health practitioner such as e.g. a psychologist or psychiatrist to confirm any diagnosis you think you might have.
If you would like treatment for your anxiety disorder, psychological treatment in Australia is now Medicare rebateable if you do a mental health care plan with your general practitioner.
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