From a life coaching perspective anxiety can appear in many forms, as their are different types of anxiety. Some tend to blend into each other, while others can be completely unique. All anxiety will have similar features which allows the below types of anxiety to be categorised under the term “Anxiety.”
Anticipatory Anxiety happens when a person experiences excessive concern for an an upcoming event of some sort. This can be anything from a wedding, a due speech, a sports event or even just a social gathering. The average person will often experience “butterflies in the stomach” and perceive it as excitement and possibly even minor anxiousness, whereas someone suffering with anticipatory anxiety will adversely react to those same symptoms in a highly charged way, which can range from mild mental, physical & emotional discomfort, to incapacitating levels that have a severe effect on their well-being. These individuals will often predict disastrous outcomes which they foresee will negatively impact them.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Nicknamed “Imagined Ugliness Syndrome”, body dysmorphic disorder or BDD, is a disorder where a person will become fixated on what they perceive to be a negative defect or quality on their body. This is often noticeable with some peoples obsession about their weight, muscle size, body shape and various pigments & tones on the skin etc. People suffering with this conditions will often go to great lengths to hide and/or fix. The means of hiding and/or fixing these body parts may in themselves become an obsession, where the person will never acknowledge that they are good enough and more work still needs to be done.
Compulsive hoarders collect and hold on to possessions. They will find it extremely stressful and difficult to throw away or give up these items, which will lead to clutter and disorganisation. Extreme clutter can create health & safety risks, and further complicate their well-being. People suffering with such a condition will try justify why various items should not be thrown away and will either place sentimental value or purpose value on such items.
Compulsive Skin Picking
Compulsive skin picking or CSP happens when a person relentlessly picks at normal blemishes such as freckles or moles, pre-existing scabs, sores or even acne blemishes. SCP is often associated with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) because of its repetitive and ritualistic nature. It can also associated with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) if the person picks at their skin to try get rid of “deformities” or “abnormalities” on their body. Sufferers will often pick at their skin to alleviate stress & anxiety. The constant picking will often lead to scars, which can further complicate the issue by making the person notice yet another abnormality that must be picked. This damaging behaviour can spiral downward if not treated.
Depersonalisation disorder (DD) is characterised by a feeling that the person is not experiencing life in their body. As if watching themselves in a movie. They will feel disconnected, lose self-awareness and may lack the ability to feel emotions. This sensation is often experienced during a panic attack and is a way for the brain to deal with high levels of stress.
General Anxiety Disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder or GAD is when a person will feel anxious for no apparent reason and can often be felt when considering about life in general, finances, relationships and their health. This can often create a whirlwind effect as they start to combine topics in their thought processing. It will always seem as though something is wrong or that something is just about to go wrong. They will struggle to move away from the emotional tug of their negative thoughts, which will start to wear them out over time and have increased affect on their lifestyle and well-being.
Its better known name is hypochondria and happens when a person either fears they will be affected by serious illness/disease, or misinterprets harmless physical symptoms as something much worse & life threatening. Sufferers will obsess about becoming ill and this fixation can lead to avoidance behaviour and neurosis.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD as it is commonly know happens when a person becomes fixated on a particular thought that is provoked by anxious feelings and eventually gets to a point where it becomes obsessive. This intense compulsion to act on stress driven by an obsessive fear, is based on neurotic thoughts, feelings and emotions that elicit some kind of threat or danger. In order to alleviate the anxiety, the person will commit to performing a designated task until it begins to calm down. The anxiety is often a feeling that there is something wrong, or that if the task isn’t acted out, something bad will happen. The conscious mind often understands and accepts that the behaviour is irrational and wishes it will stop, but can’t figure out how. Click here to read more about OCD.
Phobias & Phobic Disorders
Phobic disorders are focused anxiety disorders targeted at something very specific. The fear is irrational and creates a sense of danger when there is often no actual danger present. A strong and negative emotional reaction to something that really isn’t that bad which also then has a negative impact on the persons life. Click here to read more about phobias.
Postnatal anxiety (PA)is a condition that can be experienced by new-moms. Postnatal anxiety is a general term for a range of anxiety related conditions that can be experienced and may differ from person to person. New moms suffering with PA may constantly worry about their child’s health and safety. They obsess about being a good parent and worry about hurting their child. Some will worry that something bad will happen to their child. These conditions can intertwine with each other and compound the problem.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The term PTSD is used to describe a range of symptoms which occur following on from involvement in a traumatic event. These events are considered to be both beyond our control, and outside of our normal human experiences. The event itself could be anything from witnessing a road traffic accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack, through to being the victim of a mugging, or witnessing harrowing scenes whilst serving in the armed forces. Click here to read more about PTSD.
This is often seen with children that find it difficult to be away from their parents and/or their home. Adults are also prone to such anxiety and may feel its effects when their partners aren’t around them or if they have to go away from the home environment for things such as work or holiday. Sometimes the stress can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach pain.
Also known as social phobia happens when a person fears or dreads going into a social environment. They may worry that they will make a fool or themselves or that people will be nasty to them. The thought of possible humiliation and embarrassment will make them avoid social settings and many public spaces for fear of something bad happening to them.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a condition that is affected by the seasons and is most often felt during the colder winter months. Symptoms can include depressed feelings, loss of energy and changes in appetite. A change of season will tend to alleviate the symptoms.
Trichotillomania disorder or TD is when a person pulls out their own hair and is often done to relieve stress & anxiety. Over time bald spots can start to appear where the hair fails to grow back. People suffering with this condition can pull out hair from their scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Panic disorder is experienced when, for no apparent reason, a person will experience a panic attack. One minute they will be fine and the next, they will be in a full blown panic attack. A panic attack is often characterised by intense fear, sweating, numbness, shaking, shortness of breathe, thoughts of impending doom and sweating. To read more about panic attacks and what to do when one happens, click here.