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Common Anxiety Disorders
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive, intrusive, and unwanted concerns (obsessions) that can come in the form of thoughts, images, urges or not-just-right feelings. The OCD sufferer attempts to neutralize the distress caused by the obsessions by performing repetitive behaviors (compulsions) or by avoiding situations likely to trigger their obsessions. However, trying to neutralize the obsessions through a compulsion or avoidance only serves to worsen the OCD.
contamination (e.g., dirt/germs, illnesses)
harm to self or loved ones
symmetry, order and exactness
unwanted religious or sexual thoughts
hand washing or excessive cleaning
arranging or ordering
mentally reviewing situations
repeating (e.g., erasing, re-reading)
Panic attacks are sudden jolting episodes of intense fear that are accompanied by intense physical symptoms including rapid pulse, shortness of breath, light-headedness, dizziness, and derealization. When repeated panic attacks cause a person to develop a fearful anticipation of them with accompanying fears of dying or losing control, the diagnosis of panic disorder is applied.
Agoraphobia is the avoidance of places and situations in which anxiety may arise, and in which the possibility of managing escape or obtaining help are likely difficult or embarrassing. Individuals with agoraphobia struggle to venture beyond their "safe places," which often includes their home.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder occurs when a person experiences long term struggles to control their worrying and the worrying starts to interfere with their ability to enjoy life or function. The worry may or may not be warranted, but is likely to cover several areas and topics of concern.
Social Anxiety Disorder (social phobia) involves excessive fears of being rejected or judged negatively by others. The anxiety may be limited to a certain area of performance (e.g., public speaking) or it may more broadly include anxiety associated with being around other people.
Specific Phobias are fears of specific objects or situations that cause distress and impair functioning and quality of life. Examples of specific phobias include certain insects or animals, natural disasters, flying, heights, elevators, or blood/injections.
Illness Anxiety Disorder, or Health Anxiety, is characterized by an excessive fear of illness and/or death. Sufferers of this disorder are often hyper-aware of physical sensations that they fear are "symptoms" and they often seek repeated reassurance from family and friends, health care providers, and Internet sites.