We all experience anxiety from time to time. It might come before a job interview, a big speech, on your way to the principal’s office, or during your college graduation ceremony. For the most part, this type of anxiety is temporary, and you’ll learn to cope with it as you mature in life. 

Anxiety is nothing more than the body’s response to stress. When faced with a stressful or high-pressure situation, the body and brain coordinate to make us feel anxious – alert, focused, etc. While that’s helpful in some situations, excessive anxiety levels can grow troublesome. 

Over 40 million Americans above the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder, accounting for over 18% of that population. Despite being the most common mental illness and being highly treatable in most cases, only about 37% of those with an anxiety disorder receive treatment. 

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

An anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive, extreme, prolonged, and abnormal levels of anxiety – especially in situations that don’t call for it. Some people experience this anxiety with normal, everyday tasks, while other people experience this anxiety in specific situations. 

Unlike normal anxiety, an anxiety disorder has a negative impact on an individual’s ability to live a peaceful life. Their anxiety levels impact them physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. It starts to change the way an individual thinks, acts, behaves, and goes about their life. 

For example, some people with an anxiety disorder will avoid social interactions with others for fear of being embarrassed or judged. This might grow out of control – to the point they start missing work and/or isolating themselves from friends and family. This is where things go south.

How is an Anxiety Disorder Different Than Standard Feelings of Anxiety?

Like we mentioned above, we all experience standard feelings of anxiety from time to time – it’s a natural, normal, and healthy response to stress. Of course, there comes the point when that anxiety might overstay its welcome or impede your ability to complete everyday tasks. 

That’s the major difference between a standard type of anxiety and an anxiety disorder – the latter impacts your ability to live a quality life. With normal anxiety, we eventually learn to cope with and overcome the symptoms. With an anxiety disorder, there’s no overcoming the symptoms. 

An excellent example of this is people that have a fear of flying. On one side (standard anxiety), you have people that fear flying, but can do it when necessary. On the other side (anxiety disorder), you have people that fear flying, but won’t do it – even if necessary or mandatory.

What are the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?

The term anxiety disorder is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders that cause excessive or persistent worry or fear. There are a number of different anxiety disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of anxiety disorders in the world today:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder – also known as GAD, this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety most days, for most of the day. 
  • Social Anxiety Disorder – also known as social phobia, this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety in most social situations. 
  • Phobia-Related Disorders – also known as specific phobia, this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive fear or worry about certain objects or events.
  • Panic Disorder – this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by frequent and persistent panic attacks throughout the day. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – also known as PTSD, this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by extreme fear, anxiety, or worry after a traumatic experience or event.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – also known as OCD, this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and uncontrollable behaviors (compulsions). 

Although they all fall under the ‘anxiety disorder’ umbrella, ensuring each patient receives the correct diagnosis is essential to their success in treatment. This often requires an open and honest discussion about the patient’s symptoms, current health, and how they live their lives. 

How to Find Anxiety Treatment Programs

Anxiety is the most common mental illness, and while it can have a negative impact on an individual’s life, there are a variety of ways to treat it. Without excessive or persistent anxiety, life is a real possibility for most people, but one must first find the right anxiety treatment program. 

Your anxiety treatment professionals must have experience treating all the many different anxiety disorders in existence today. In fact, that’s what makes Thrive Treatment one of the best anxiety treatment programs in Los Angeles – together, we can find much-needed relief. 
If you’d like to learn more about our Santa Monica anxiety treatment program and how we can help you learn to manage your anxiety disorder, contact us today – we’re excited to welcome you with open arms!

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