What Are The Five Major Types Of Anxiety Disorders
The five major types of anxiety disorders are:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors . Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
- Social Phobia Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation;- such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others;- or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
When Is It A Compulsion
- Compulsions are;related to obsessions.;For example, if you have obsessions about being contaminated by germs, you will compulsively wash your hands to reduce the fear of being contaminated by touching something dirty.
- Compulsions are;repetitive. They are often done repeatedly and in an excessive and very specific way . If the compulsions are not performed correctly or are interrupted, you might need to perform the entire compulsion again. Once is never enough.
- Compulsions are also;time consuming.;People with OCD often spend at least 1 hour a day carrying out their compulsions.
- Compulsions are;deliberate. Although people with OCD describe their obsessions as being unwanted thoughts that pop into their heads uninvited, compulsions are carried out deliberately, because compulsions reduce anxiety in the short-term. While obsessions cause anxiety, performing a compulsion reduces that anxiety. For example, if you have an obsession about being contaminated by germs, you will probably feel anxious. However, if you then start compulsively washing your hands, your anxiety will probably diminish.
- Compulsions cause a lot of;anxiety in the long-term.;Although people with OCD perform compulsions to deal with their obsessions, they often find that they become slaves to their compulsions. That is, they need to carry out the compulsions so often that they feel that they have no control over them.
Examples Of Exposures For Health Anxiety Ocd
- Reading articles about people dying from diseases both common and uncommon
- Watching movies or videos about someone with a terminal illness
- Visiting hospitals, nursing homes, or places where you might fear acquiring an illness
- Writing imaginal scripts about being chronically or terminally ill and the consequences that could arise from this
- Writing imaginal scripts about failing to do enough to prevent an illness, failing to take enough precautions or perfectly follow medical advice
For any of the above approaches to work, they must be paired with resisting checking, comparing, reassurance-seeking or other compulsions. Making contracts/agreements with loved ones to help you resist reassurance-seeking can also be instrumental in your progress.
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Ultimately Only An Experienced Clinician Can Make The Distinction Between These Disorders
Find one who preferably specializes in OCD to help.
In my experience, many clinicians only know about stereotypical manifestations of OCD, and as such, its misdiagnosed quite often.
This is also why I refer folks to the OCD Center of Los Angeles so often. A disorder this tricky requires thoughtful resources that reflect the myriad ways people experience this condition.
To sum up, heres my best advice: Do your homework and research as thoroughly as possible. And if it feels like OCD is a likely diagnosis, seek out a professional that has a firm grasp on what this disorder is.
Youve got this.
Sam Dylan Finch is a writer, positive psychology practitioner, and media strategist in Portland, Oregon. Hes the lead editor of mental health and chronic conditions at Healthline, and co-founder of Queer Resilience Collective, a wellness coaching cooperative for LGBTQ+ people. You can say hello on , , , or learn more at SamDylanFinch.com.
Art Entertainment And Media
Movies and television shows may portray idealized or incomplete representations of disorders such as OCD. Compassionate and accurate literary and on-screen depictions may help counteract the potential stigma associated with an OCD diagnosis, and lead to increased public awareness, understanding and sympathy for such disorders.
- In the film As Good as It Gets , actor Jack Nicholson portrays a man with OCD who performs ritualistic behaviors that disrupt his life.
- The film Matchstick Men , directed by Ridley Scott, portrays a con man named Roy with OCD who opens and closes doors three times while counting aloud before he can walk through them.
- In the television series Monk , the titular character Adrian Monk fears both human contact and dirt.
- In Turtles All the Way Down , a young adult novel by author John Green, teenage main character Aza Holmes struggles with OCD that manifests as a fear of the human microbiome. Throughout the story, Aza repeatedly opens an unhealed on her finger to drain out what she believes are pathogens. The novel is based on Green’s own experiences with OCD. He explained that Turtles All the Way Down is intended to show how “most people with chronic mental illnesses also live long, fulfilling lives”.
- The British TV series Pure stars Charly Clive as a 24-year-old Marnie who is plagued by disturbing sexual thoughts, as a kind of primarily obsessional obsessive compulsive disorder. The series is based on a book of the same name by Rose Cartwright.
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Cant I Deal With The Social Phobia Later
You may wonder why diagnosing and addressing social phobia is important to your treatment. Why cant the treatment of OCD and social phobia be separate processes? In our experience, social phobia appears to interact with OCD in a manner that necessitates attention to both disorders simultaneously.
One way that this interaction occurs is that obsessions and compulsions may protect the individual from more threatening social fears. As unpleasant and frustrating as the obsessions and compulsions may be, having to face a high anxiety-producing social situation may be even worse.
For example, a woman with these two disorders may be invited to attend a social function. Even though she may want to attend, she is very fearful of the situation and the potential for rejection. Her obsessions about the fear of harming someone cause her to avoid the situation, and thus, protect her from experiencing the social anxiety.
Most Common Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms
Obsessive-compulsive disorder , an anxiety-driven condition, leaves a person at the mercy of uncontrollable thoughts, behaviors and rituals. While many people encounter nagging worries, such as forgetting to turn-off the coffee pot, the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder become so pronounced that it affects a persons ability to carry out normal everyday tasks.
Not surprisingly, the 10 most common symptoms associated with the disorder stem from a root cause of anxiety. In an effort to relieve feelings of anxiety, persons afflicted by OCD may carry out repetitive behaviors, but experience little if any relief in the process. The condition seems to perpetuate itself by keeping a person embroiled inside an anxiety-producing mindset. Even in cases where a person knows a particular thought or behavior is irrational, he or she is unable to break free.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, most people affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder begin to experience symptoms by the age of 30. The cause of the condition remains unknown, though genetics appears to have some influence on whether a person will develop the disorder. Other suspected causes include head injuries, infections and abnormal activity in certain areas of the brain.
So without further adieu, here are the 10 most common symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The first two listed actually function as core symptoms that underlie and fuel OCD disorders.
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Lets Start With The Main Difference: Specifically Whats Making You Anxious
In OCD, our anxieties are largely irrational. Most anxiety is, but in OCD its definitely a little more out there in comparison.
We obsess about improbable, quite specific, and even bizarre things. Will I get a rare disease by touching this? What if this violent thought means Ill kill someone? What if I fall in love with my psychiatrist?
I spoke with Tom Corboy, a licensed psychotherapist and executive director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles so basically, the go-to expert on this topic who emphasized that for someone with OCD, these are not just random passing thoughts, but rather repeated thoughts that causing great distress precisely because the thoughts are antithetical to the sufferers true self.
And thats a critical piece. With OCD, the anxieties are incongruent with how a person thinks of themselves.
Think of OCD as more of a conspiracy theorist: where the outcome or conclusion it offers is nearly impossible or quite outlandish. For example, as a mental health advocate, Ive had obsessions about making up my mental illnesses, fearing that Ive built my career on an elaborate lie I was unaware I was even telling.
I knew logically that this didnt make any sense. But my brain still latched onto it, leaving me in a state of panic that interfered with my life.
OCD often latches onto some of our deepest fears. In my case, it was lying to people I care about and manipulating them without meaning to.
Its the original flavor of anxiety, hyped up aggressively.
What Treatments Are Available For Obsessive
If you have symptoms of OCD that interfere with your daily life, you should talk to a healthcare provider. A professional who is specially trained in mental illness can offer several strategies:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy : Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy. You will talk to a therapist, who will help you examine and understand your thoughts and emotions. Over several sessions, CBT can help you stop negative habits, perhaps replacing them with healthier ways to cope.
- Medications: Drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors , selective SRIs and tricyclic antidepressants may help. They increase levels of serotonin. Examples include clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline.
- Exposure and response prevention : With this therapy, you do the thing that causes anxiety. The healthcare provider then prevents you from responding with a compulsion. For example, the provider may ask you to touch dirty objects but then stop you from washing your hands.
What happens if CBT and medications dont work for OCD?If OCD doesnt respond to CBT and medication, a healthcare provider may try to improve mood, specifically depression, with these therapies:
Your provider might suggest using mindfulness to treat OCD and to improve the usefulness of other OCD treatments.
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What Is Social Phobia
Social phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by a persistent fear of criticism or negative evaluation from others. It is essentially a fear of disapproval. Once thought, like OCD, to be relatively rare, current research shows that social phobia significantly impairs the lives of 2-3% of the general U.S. population. Another 20% experience social anxiety, which is less severe, only because they are able to avoid the social situations they dread.
Some people have what is known as a specific social phobia, in which they fear one or a number of situations such as eating or drinking in public, writing in public, or public speaking. Others have a generalized form of the disorder and fear many, if not all, social situations. Complete avoidance of the feared social situations is common, although some people engage in subtle forms of avoidance or endure social situations with great discomfort.
While the prevailing clinical lore has suggested that social phobia is a relatively mild disorder, this is frequently not the case. People suffering with social phobia are often times quite disabled, unable to maintain jobs or long-term relationships, for example.
Mindfulness And Erp For Health Anxiety Ocd
Exposure and Response Prevention , simply put, is a process where you confront your fears about your health and refrain from doing compulsions. People often think of mindfulness and ERP as two separate strategies when in fact mindfulness is often a part of ERP. While doing exposure to your fear you are mindfully allowing yourself to both approach and remain in the presence of your fear and mindfully choosing not to engage in compulsions. The purpose of this exercise is to essentially retrain your brain to respond to the obsessive thoughts without doing compulsions which ultimately teaches your brain that these thoughts are irrelevant and require no response.
Learning to respond differently to these thoughts ultimately results in accepting uncertainty about their meaning. This both reduces your anxiety about the thoughts and increases your willingness to feel whatever anxiety may remain.
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Symptoms Of Ocd Compulsions
Compulsions can be behavioural or mental . Compulsions are repetitive actions that are often carried out in a special pattern or according to specific rules. Compulsions are usually performed to try and prevent an obsessive fear from happening, to reduce the anxiety the obsessive thought creates, or to make things feel just right.Common compulsions include:
- excessive hand washing, showering and tooth brushing
- excessive cleaning and washing of house, household items, food, car and other areas
- excessive checking of locks, electrical and gas appliances, and other things associated with safety
- repeating routine activities and actions such as reading, writing, walking, picking up something or opening a door
- applying rigid rules and patterns to the placement of objects, furniture, books, clothes and other items
- touching, tapping or moving in a particular way or a certain number of times
- needing to constantly ask questions or confess to seek reassurance
- mentally repeating words or numbers a certain number of times, or concentrating on good or safe numbers
- replacing a bad thought with a good thought.;
Usually compulsions become like rituals; they follow specific rules and patterns, and involve constant repetitions. Compulsions give an illusory sense of short-term relief to anxiety. However, they actually reinforce anxiety and make the obsessions seem more real, so that the anxiety soon returns.;
Symptoms Of Ocd Obsessions
Obsessions are usually exaggerated versions of concerns and worries that most people have at some time. Common obsessions include:
- fear of contamination from germs, dirt, poisons, and other physical and environmental substances
- fear of harm from illness, accidents or death that may occur to oneself or to others. This may include an excessive sense of responsibility for preventing this harm
- intrusive thoughts and images about sex, violence, accidents and other issues
- excessive concern with symmetry, exactness and orderliness
- excessive concerns about illness, religious issues or morality
- needing to know and remember things.
Obsessions may be constantly on a persons mind. They may also be triggered by physical objects, situations, smells or something heard on television, radio or in a conversation. Obsessive fears usually move beyond a specific trigger for example, a bottle of coolant to include anything that might look like it or have been near it, such as cars, car keys, a puddle on the road, supermarket shelves and petrol stations. ;Obsessions can change in nature and severity and do not respond to logic. Obsessional anxiety leads to vigilance for possible threats, and a compelling need for certainty and control. Obsessions can produce feelings ranging from annoyance and discomfort to acute distress, disgust and panic.;
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Treatment And Therapeutic Options
Treatment specifically for OCPD typically includes:
Rowland et al. note that in a clinical setting, those with OCPD can appear to function well and are often high achieving, thus creating difficulty ascertaining what problems to target in treatment. However, family members and partners are often acutely aware of the difficulties of living with someone with OCPD and can provide valuable collateral information to mental health providers.
It is important to note that treatment may be complicated by the individual’s rigidity, obstinacy, and need for control. A further challenge to treatment is that those with OCPD may present during therapy sessions with interesting, detailed, intellectualized conversation that may seem psychologically oriented – but it is void of affect and does not typically lead to change. Phillipson notes that ones steadfast belief that their way is the only correct way makes them resistant to accepting the premise that it is in their best interest to let go of “truth owning;” yet letting go of truth is paramount in their recovery. Phillipson further remarks that as ~50% of OCPD clients remain in therapy long-term, many cease attending due to the overwhelming sense of outrage that the doctor/therapist has made a mistake, rather than acknowledge the actual conflict within the therapeutic relationship as the unavoidable manifestation of why they came into therapy in the first place.
Anxiety Management Techniques For Ocd
Anxiety management techniques can help a person to manage their own symptoms. Such techniques can include relaxation training,;slow breathing techniques, mindfulness meditation;and hyperventilation control. These techniques require regular practice and are most effective if used together with a cognitive behaviour therapy treatment program.
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What Health Anxiety Ocd Makes You Feel Responsible For
Here are some ways OCD uses the fear of being irresponsible to keep you stuck in health anxiety.
Responsibility for seeking a diagnosis
- What if I am ill but no one can figure it out because there isnt a name for it?
- What if this doctor read the results of the tests wrong?
- How do I know that I am not developing an illness that has not been detected?
- What if my failure to find an answer leads to endless suffering due to my awareness of symptoms
Responsibility for being vigilant about monitoring symptoms
- What if this sensation or symptom is a sign of cancer or a chronic illness?
- If I dont check for signs of illness it could end up being my fault for not checking.
Responsibility for avoiding the potential of contracting an illness
- What if I should not have allowed myself to be around someone who appeared ill?
- What if I have not paid close enough attention to something that could have gotten me ill?
Responsibility for inadvertently causing harm
- What if I have an undetected illness and get someone else sick?
- What if I am currently sick or get sick due to my own lack of vigilance?
Responsibility for reporting symptoms and sensations
- What if I fail to describe my symptoms accurately which results in the wrong diagnosis?
- What if I fail to recognize changes in my symptoms?