Mental Health Part 1 | What is Anxiety & Types of Anxiety Disorders
June 17, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

Mental Health Part 1 | What is Anxiety & Types of Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety is a disorder that can be crippling to those who suffer from the turmoil of constant fear and worry.  There are three anxiety disorder classifications, which include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobia-related disorders.  While occasional anxiety is something everyone will endure, anxiety disorders will occur every day for six months or longer. Daily activities, such as work, school, and relationships, can be affected by anxiety disorders.   



Generalized anxiety disorder is defined as daily worry or fear about health, relationships, work, or other parts of life.
  As mentioned previously, this anxiety must be experienced daily for six months to be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder.  Symptoms include restlessness, insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, and feelings of worry. Panic disorders are defined as a sudden onset, quickly escalated period of intense fear physically evidenced by trembling, sweating, elevated heart rate, hyperventilation or quick, short breaths causing lack of oxygenation, and a feeling of impending doom. Attacks are usually brought on by a trigger, which varies from person to person. Many people are aware of their triggers and try to avoid them to prevent the physical and emotional consequences brought on by the sudden attack.



There are several types of phobia-related disorders, a few being separation anxiety, specific phobia, and social phobia. Separation anxiety can be easily deduced from the name and is classified by an intense fear of being separated from someone to whom you are attached.
  The general fear in this phobia is that the person to which there is an attachment will be harmed if they are apart.  Both children and adults can be diagnosed, although it is more prevalent in children.  Specific phobia is fear of a particular thing, such as flying, driving, spiders, receiving injections, blood, and snakes, to name a few.  Social phobia is described as a fear of embarrassment in performance or social situations.


Risk factors for anxiety disorders include trauma in childhood or adulthood, shyness, side effects of certain medications, and medical conditions like thyroid disease. Treatment can vary based on the disorder, but the generalized treatment plan includes psychotherapy and pharmacological therapy.
  Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavior therapy, as a part of psychotherapy, can be utilized to recondition the brain, through discussion, concerning the anxiety trigger. Medications used to treat anxiety disorders can range from anti-anxiety drugs to antidepressants.  While medications do not address the underlying cause, they can be used to curb symptoms related to the anxiety.


This week, other mental health topics will be addressed, including the condition of depression, lifestyle modifiers to combat depression and anxiety, as well as how mental health affects physical health.
  It is of the utmost importance to create a positive mind space to function optimally in your day-to-day life. We will be discussing steps you can take to achieve that positive mindset, so stay tuned.  For more information about general anxiety disorders and treatment options available to you, speak with a doctor today at Shifa4U.

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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She is currently staying at home with her children while continuing to work towards bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians. She is a wife to Max McKay, and a mom to two boys, Titus (3) & Silas (1).