The Effect Severe Anxiety Is Similar In Both Disorders But There’s Cause
Posted April 21, 2015
I get asked from time to time about the difference between panic disorder and post traumaticstress disorder. I know about panic disorder from personal experience and PTSD from association as a mental health social worker. The definition of the word trauma is what separates the two anxiety disorders.
I developed PD as a result of having had one too many panic attacks. My first attack was at age 10, and I had episodes of panic attacks at various times during my youth. The one I had while traveling at age 19 was the topperthe one that turned me into someone so frightened of having another terrifying panic attack that I avoided travel forthe next 30 years. What I experienced was a trauma. My traumatic event was a panic attack over essentially nothing. There was nothing real to frighten me, but the experience of the attack traumatized me.
Someone with clinical PTSD truly experienced something horrific. The person saw, heard, felt, smelled something that triggered the fight or flight system to become constantly alert to any new dangers. I had people on my caseload who were struggling with the symptoms of PTSD, the result of everything from wars to accidents to assault and abuse.
Heres a link to an excellent scholarly article on the role of the amygdala in anxiety. The Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders web site is a good place for you to do research on your disorder.
How Are They Treated When They Co
Post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders often co-occur. People with eating disorders may have other mental health conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder . In fact, many individuals with eating disorders also have one or more anxiety disorders that often predate the eating disorder.
Acute Stress Disorder And Risk For Developing Ptsd
Acute stress disorder and PTSD often go hand-in-hand. This is because a diagnosis of PTSD can only be given one month after the experience of a traumatic event. Yet, it is likely that people may be experiencing PTSD-like symptoms soon after a traumatic event.
Acute stress disorder describes the experience of PTSD-like symptoms immediately following a traumatic event.
People diagnosed with acute stress disorder have been found to be at greater risk for eventually developing PTSD.
Learn more about the symptoms of acute stress disorder and its connection with PTSD with this overview.
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How Is General Anxiety Different From Ptsd
PTSD is a type of anxiety problem. However, you can have anxiety without having PTSD. Anxiety can be just as serious as PTSD, and it can manifest in ways such as the following:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: GAD is an anxiety issue that causes excessive worry and constant feelings of stress and concern over a number of different issues.
- Social anxiety: People with social anxiety feel panicked in social situations. Fear of public speaking is a very common social anxiety issue. Problematic social anxiety can cause individuals to live in isolation, struggle with employment and relations with others.
- Panic disorder: Panic disorder causes sudden and terrifying panic attacks that can seem unrelated to any real fear. Over time, panic attacks usually become worse as the suffering person begins to fear and anticipate future panic attacks.
- Specific phobia: A specific phobia is a fear of a specific object or experience. Some specific phobias include blood phobia, spider phobia, fear of heights, or a fear of dogs.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder: OCD is an anxiety disorder that causes people to obsess over repetitive thoughts and then try to ease those anxious thoughts through a compulsive behavior such as counting, hand washing or checking. OCD becomes progressively worse over time, like many other anxiety issues.
Anxiety Disorders Come In Many Shapes And Sizes Heres What They Have In Common And What Sets Them Apart
Oh, no. This is a story about anxiety disorders. But dont panic: They make a lot of sense once you get to know them.
Anxiety disorders are incredibly common. About 1 in 3 people experience at least one anxiety disorder over the course of their lifetime. And more often than not, someone that suffers from one disorder will suffer from more than one.
Many mental disorders fall under the greater anxiety umbrella: phobias, social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and even childhood disorders like separation anxiety and selective mutism. These classifications come from the DSM the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM is considered the official authority on whats what in the realm of psychology, and was last updated in 2013. Although there are diagnostics that allow clinicians to differentiate, say, social anxiety from agoraphobia, anxiety disorders share a common root.
With anxiety disorders, theres this over-active signal in the brain, says Debra Kissen, clinical psychologist and CEO of the Light on Anxiety, a cognitive behavioral therapy treatment center. Its saying, oh no, somethings wrong, when most of the time things are OK.
Why someone might develop one anxiety disorder and not another or any anxiety disorder at all is something researchers are still investigating. But experts are making progress learning how your genes and your environment interact to affect your mental health.
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Joint Features Of Multiple Conditions
The scientists searched for brain regions that were either more active or less active in the participants with mental health conditions than among the control group. As expected, the researchers found that certain features of brain activity were consistent across mood disorders, PTSD, and anxiety disorders.
Perhaps surprisingly, they found the most significant differences between the two groups of participants when they searched for hypoactive regions. The authors outline their primary findings:
detected statistically robust transdiagnostic clusters of hypoactivation in the inferior prefrontal cortex/insula, the inferior parietal lobule, and the putamen.
These regions are significant because they are all involved in emotional and cognitive control. Specifically, they play an important role in stopping cognitive and behavioral processes and switching to new ones.
Senior author Dr. Sophia Frangou explains: These brain imaging findings provide a science-based explanation as to why patients with mood and anxiety disorders seem to be locked in to negative mood states. They also corroborate the patients experience of being unable to stop and switch away from negative thoughts and feelings.
The authors also outline how these findings lend support to earlier studies in people with these disorders, which found deficits of large effect size in stopping and shifting responses in a range of tasks.
Healthy Ways Of Coping With Ptsd Anxiety
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
People with post-traumatic stress disorder often struggle with frequent and intense symptoms of anxiety. These strong symptoms of anxiety often lead people with PTSD to rely on unhealthy ways of coping, such as through drug or alcohol use.
Fortunately, there are a number of healthy ways of coping with anxiety. These strategies may help reduce the intensity of anxiety, lessen its frequency, and/or make it more tolerable.
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The Best Resources For People Managing Anxiety
One study looked at the link between GADs impact on the veteran community and found a link with PTSD. Out of 884 surveyed vets, 40 percent of people with;PTSD were also diagnosed with GAD. These people had more severe symptoms of the anxiety disorder than those who had only GAD without PTSD.
Youll find a lot of people with PTSD will have some form of anxiety disorder. Many will experience panic attacks and have social anxieties, for sure. They might be withdrawn socially and avoid social gatherings, Emrani says. Its important that these people discuss with their medical team to seek out the treatment they need.
Treatment for anxiety disorders could include psychotherapy, or talk therapy, which aims to help individuals directly confront the specific anxieties that are plaguing them; CBT, which is also helpful for depression; support groups; and stress-management techniques, like exercise or meditation. Medications cant cure anxiety disorders, but they could help alleviate symptoms. Antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and beta-blockers are some of the most commonly prescribed.
General Anxiety Disorder: Signs And Diagnosis
GAD patients experience excessive anxiety and worry regularly than people without the disorder, as these symptoms are inherently associated with the disorder.
Having Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by systematically and persistently high levels of anxiety in various situations and parts of the life of an individual. Patients suffering from GAD are commonly described as anxious individuals or people that worry too much.;
A person suffering from this condition may also experience visible manifestations of distress like tissue strains or headaches, trouble sleeping or focusing, and irritation. A persons response to something causing them to be concerned can sometimes seem unreasonable or unusual.
GAD signs can sometimes be asymptomatic, although they usually need to be present for a considerable period before they can be diagnosed.
The Person May Also Experience the Following:
- Having a restless feeling or being on edge
- Having an easy time getting tired
- Having difficulty focusing
- Tensions in the muscle
- Disruptions of sleeping patterns
GADs signs should last for half a year compared to other types of anxiety disorders before you can be diagnosed with the disorder.;GAD affects 6.8% of the adult population, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of Americans. You are not alone if you struggle with GAD symptoms.
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Signs You Or Someone You Know Has Bpd
The same review finds that, while these two conditions are distinct diagnoses, some researchers have observed that one condition may exacerbate the symptoms of the other. For instance, PTSD can intensify the affective instability of someone who has BPD. It may also serve as a trigger for self-injury among people who have BPD.
BPD is often found in people who have suffered from childhood abuse of any kind, and the authors of this paper cite that out of 547 people who had both conditions, 36 percent had experienced childhood sexual abuse. Broken down by gender, 43.43 percent of women who had both PTSD and BPD had childhood sexual abuse in their backgrounds compared with 19.14 percent of men in this same group.
The Symptoms Of A Generalized Anxiety Disorder
There are a host of symptoms of GAD.
The Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
The treatment for anxiety disorders will depend entirely on the type of anxiety disorder you have and your individual specifications.
Reduce Stress and Triggers
Even GAD will have its triggers. If stress at work is resulting in an anxiety disorder, then a change in duties performed at work, or even a change in working environments, is necessary. You will not be able to get better if the source of your stress is still prevalent in your life.
Get Help From a Mental Health Professional
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a very effective treatment for GAD. Support groups and other types of therapy have proven to be extremely valuable, as well.
Stick to Your Medication Regimen
It can be tempting to stop taking the medication once you feel you are in remission. This is a mistake. It is recommended when you have GAD to continue with your medication regimen for six to twelve months afterward. The medication you will likely take would be serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
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Ptsd Is Commonly Accompanied By Other Disorders
GAD and PTSD;can co-exist, as can several conditions such as schizoaffective disorders, that share similar symptoms. They include:
- With PTSD,;panic attacks;can be very common as well as PD. Anxiety disorders include constant anxious thoughts about future attacks and repeated unexpected panic attacks.
- Those having PTSD symptoms suffer from;social anxiety disorder;where they have intense fears and avoid social situations when they are likely to be observed by others.
- Getting scared of certain objects or situations; is characterized by specific phobias, occurring in approximately 30% of people with PTSD.
- Over 35 percent of individuals suffering from PTSD could have obsessive-compulsive disorder;, a disorder that has been studied less concerning PTSD. Throughout this condition, intrusive and excessive obsessive thoughts are observed and obsessive behaviors or activities repeated over and over to avoid these thoughts .
Mental health issues require professional diagnosis and treatment of PTSD symptoms. You dont have to diagnose yourself or a family member to receive help.;
Getting an assessment of PTSD symptoms, recovery solutions, and starting a healthy, balanced life are all part of why you need us if you are suffering from worry and anxiety symptoms. Call us today at;;to get help with PTSD symptoms.
Getting Treatment For Anxiety And Ptsd
PTSD symptoms are disabling and often frightening reminders of life-altering exposures to trauma. Traumatic memories can recur again and again, leaving a troubling legacy of suffering that can seem inescapable unless treatment is sought.
When PTSD is complicated by anxiety disorders, the suffering can be even more acute. But treatment plans can be customized to make sure multiple psychiatric disorders are addressed simultaneously and comprehensively, if the diagnosis requires it.
With or without co-occurring anxiety disorders, intense anxiety is one of PTSDâs defining core symptoms. When a person enters an inpatient or outpatient treatment program for PTSD, one of the primary goals of their therapists will be to help them come to terms with their past trauma, as they analyze its ongoing effect on their lives. Gaining perspective and self-understanding can help them reduce the anxiety they experience to a far more manageable level.
Practical techniques for managing anxiety may be introduced to patients as well. Their therapy regimen will almost certainly include instruction in cognitive behavioral therapy , which has been proven effective against anxiety symptoms by various studies. Holistic stress management practices, like meditation, biofeedback, yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, and Tai Chi can promote long-term healing from anxiety troubles as well, and are frequently incorporated into mental health center treatment plans.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Ptsd
There are many risk factors for developing PTSD. Recognizing and addressing them can help prevent PTSD, when possible. These risk factors include:
- Lack of family or social support resources
- Repeated exposure to traumatic circumstances
- Personal history of trauma or of an acute stress or anxiety disorder
- Family history of mental health disorders
- Personality traits of vulnerability and a lack of resilience
- History of childhood trauma
- Personality disorder or traits including borderline personality disorder, paranoia, dependency, or antisocial tendencies
What Is The Difference Between Ptsd Vs Anxiety
Unfortunately, determining the difference between an anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder can be difficult, since they usually co-occur. PTSD and anxiety typically go hand-in-hand and are known to share similar symptoms. Although PTSD is also an anxiety disorder, people with PTSD have developed this disorder due to the previous experience of a traumatic event.;
For those suffering from an anxiety disorder, there often isnt a trigger, scenario, or reason for you to feel anxious, and yet you will. Anxiety disorders come with a host of symptoms that you will feel both pathologically and physically.
If you think you suffer from PTSD, depression, or anxiety or worry and it is beginning to interfere with your daily activities, it is important that you visit a mental health professional to be evaluated accurately and start on a treatment plan to help you live a healthy life.
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This Shift Ignores Cumulative Evidence And Moves The Field Backward
As recently pointed out, the current proposed configuration yields 2,800 minimal and 5,800,410 possible combinations in which an individual could qualify for the PTSD diagnosis as currently proposed. Notably, in the DSM-IV, PTSD was criticized as being too heterogeneous, with a possible 79,794 combinations. This is in stark contrast with a major depression disorder in the DSM-IV, which has 126 minimal and 256 possible combinations. This astronomical degree of heterogeneity has the potential for even more broadening on the construct and moving the field backward rather than forward , rather than focusing on key underlying commonalities. Along these lines, the broader shift toward creating a new overarching category trauma and stressor-related disorders has the potential for obscuring the strong translational and neurobiological research that under-girds this diagnosis and inadvertently suggesting to clinicians and researchers alike that these literatures on fear and anxiety are not critical in understanding PTSD. This would be a profound mistake for the field.
Addiction And Substance Abuse
Addiction is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as a brain disease brought on by chronic drug use that makes changes to brain circuitry and chemistry, which lead to compulsive drug-using behaviors.With repeated drug use it becomes harder for the brain to regulate amounts of dopamine, adrenaline, and GABA normally. Drug cravings and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and irritability. This heightens the risk of PTSD development.Chronic stress can interfere with a persons impulse control, learning, and memory functions . Drugs can temporarily increase pleasure, decrease anxiety, and provide a distraction from difficult emotions. As a result drugs can be used as a coping mechanism for the symptoms of chronic stress or PTSD, making it more likely for a person to turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of escape.
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What Are Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are complex conditions that affect eating and can seriously impair health and social functioning. The most common eating disorders are:
- Binge-eating disorder : Eating large amounts of food while feeling out of control
- Bulimia nervosa: Eating large amounts of food alternating with behaviors designed to counteract the impact of this eating
- Anorexia nervosa: Eating insufficiently for ones energy needs due to a fear of weight gain
These are also the three types of eating disorders that have most often been studied in relation to PTSD.