Understanding the Many Anxiety Disorders

by Dale Vernor last updated -

Approximately 40 million adults in the United States, suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. There are many different types of disorders that involve anxiety including social anxiety, OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder. A little-known secret to helping combat anxiety is preparation. Preparing for your anxiety is one of the best ways to handle an anxiety disorder. If you can prepare for certain situations that cause you anxiety, you can do your best to keep the anxiety from getting out of control. [1]

Importance of Understanding Anxiety Disorder

The best way to prepare for your anxiety is to understand your anxiety disorder better. Many turn to quick fix medications that end up causing more harm than good.

Preparing for your anxiety is one of the best tips for managing it better. If you are one of the many who had a Xanax prescription for anxiety and started abusing it, there are Xanax addiction treatment programs available. These programs will teach you how to better understand your anxiety as well as show you ways to better prepare for dealing with your anxiety. [2]

A close up of an upset man who is rubbing his eyes and has pushed up his reading glasses

People with chronic fatigue are more likely to become depressed. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Learning about your anxiety disorder and what causes it is a key role in dealing with anxiety in healthier ways. There are many causes for anxiety, so learning your triggers can help you manage the disorder. Understanding how your anxiety presents itself following certain triggers can help in managing it as well. [3]

Preparing for Anxiety Triggers

Depending on which type of anxiety disorder you have, there are different triggers that might set off your anxiety. Some of these triggers might include social events, being in large crowds, disorder, chaotic situations, high-stress situations, sounds, smells, certain people, specific places, and more. Learn to recognize your triggers, so you can better manage your anxiety.

Preparation with Social Anxiety

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, social anxiety is a mental health condition that creates persistent and intense fears of being judged and watched by others. It can affect various aspects of one’s life and make it difficult to maintain friendships. If you suffer from social anxiety some of the tips you can use to prepare for better anxiety management include: [4]

  • Plan ahead for all social events and situations
  • Have conversation starters ready before getting to the social event
  • Start by attending small social events

One example of how you can prepare for social anxiety is to relax ahead of time. For instance, if you normally get tight muscles in social situations, use progressive muscle relaxation before going to the event.

Preparation with OCD

According to MedlinePlus, OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes someone to have frequent and upsetting thoughts. These thoughts are known as obsessions. When trying to manage these thoughts, the person with the disorder might have a strong urge to repeat specific behaviors or rituals. These are known as compulsions. Some of the tips you can use to prepare for anxiety related to OCD include: [5]

  • Expect the unexpected
  • Accept risks as part of life
  • Don’t fight your thoughts, just accept them
  • Recognize that bad thing don’t happen because a certain behavior doesn’t occur

One example of how to manage and prepare for OCD related-anxiety is to expect the unexpected. For instance, if someone comes over to visit and they don’t push their chair in at the table, don’t push it in for them. Expect this is going to happen and let it be.

Preparation with Panic Disorder

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, a panic disorder occurs when someone has recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. The panic attacks are sudden bouts of intense fear that happen quickly. They can happen based on a trigger or unexpectedly. Some of the tips you can use to prepare for anxiety related to a panic disorder include: [6]

  • Learn what your triggers are
  • Practice calm breathing even when you aren’t in a panic attack
  • Challenge your negative thoughts
  • Replace each negative thought with 3 positive ones

One example of how to manage and prepare for panic disorder related anxiety is to replace each negative thought with 3 positive ones. For instance, if you find that thinking about driving in the dark after work brings about a panic attack, prepare ahead of time. Replace that thought with 3 positive ones. You have made the drive many times and nothing bad has happened. Calling a taxi to drive you home might be a great idea. You can use the time to listen to music and unwind, instead of stressing.

Preparation for PTSD

According to the U.S. Department for Veteran Affairs, PTSD is a mental health condition someone might experience after having or witnessing a life-threatening event such as a sexual assault, car accident, natural disaster, or combat. Some tips for preparing for anxiety related to PTSD include: [7]

  • Make a list of emergency numbers you can call
  • Know your triggers
  • Create cards for coping

One example of how to manage and prepare for anxiety related to PTSD is to create cards for coping. For instance, if you find yourself triggered while at a grocery store, you can pull out one of these cards. It might state, “You are safe. These thoughts are only memories. They aren’t here and now. If you need someone to talk to, call (a friend and have their number on the card).

An old man in a pensive mood in the garden

A sad man Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Preparation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, generalized anxiety disorder is diagnosed when someone has persistent and excessive worrying about many things. A diagnosis is generally given when someone finds it tough to stop worrying on most days throughout a 6 month period. Some of the tips for preparing for this type of anxiety include:

  • Recognizing your worries
  • Classifying the worries (current or hypothetical)
  • Slow your breathing
  • Get comfortable with the uncertainty of life

One example of how to manage this type of anxiety is to classify your worries. If there are hypothetical situations, learn to let those go. They haven’t happened yet. Focus on current worries and how to overcome those.

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About the Author

Dale is a writer and researcher in the fields of mental health and addiction. After a battle with addiction, Dale was able to earn his Bachelor’s degree and find a job helping others. Dale enjoys writing about these topics to help lift the stigma associated with both problems. It is important to note that Dale is not a doctor and if anyone is suffering from depression they should seek medical advice.

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