Threats To Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term describing a group of related mental illnesses. All of these mental illnesses have one common denominator: fear.  All anxiety disorders are characterised by the presence of crippling fear, which destroys the life of the person suffering from the disorder. This fear destroys the sufferer’s life by shattering his or her mental health. Anxiety disorders can be very harmful, and can prevent sufferers from living up to their full potential.

Generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) are three different anxiety disorders. Each of these disorders is a new kind of suffering. Each disorder destroys a person’s well-being in a unique and distinctive way.

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is just what it sounds like: a tendency to become the victim of sourceless, irrational, and inarticulable worry. Sufferers of generalised anxiety disorder worry about everything and anything. Those who have this disorder do not need something to be threatening to worry about; they will find something worrisome and threatening in even the most benign situation. People with this disorder fixate upon and magnify the most mundane fears, until their lives become completely ruled by fear.

Generalised anxiety disorder can prevent its sufferers from achieving even the most mundane tasks. Every day is fraught with disaster for GAD victims. Holding down jobs, or even leaving the house, can become fearsome, difficult prospects of these unfortunate individuals. Furthermore, GAD sufferers’ tendency to constantly worry can result in physical symptoms, such as muscle pain, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath.

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterised by intermittent, violent panic attacks. Victims of generalised anxiety disorder suffer from a constant dread and fear that underlies all that they do. On the other hand, victims of panic disorder suffer from short, violent episodes of fear. These attacks, triggered by stressful situations, have clear physical symptoms, including weakness, dizziness, nausea, a racing heart, and even bodily dissociation.

Social anxiety disorder is an example of a phobia–an intense fear that has a particular trigger. In this case, the trigger is social interaction. The pervasiveness of this fear varies among sufferers of the disorder. Some social phobics get along fine in casual conversation with other people, but harbour an unconquerable fear of public speaking or performance. Some people are only afraid of eating in front of others, or going to the bathroom when other people are in the house. Others’ social phobia is so intense that they cannot talk to other people at all.

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