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What is the difference between every day anxiety and an anxiety disorder?

Updated: Oct 31

In the world we live experiencing anxiety is inevitable and it will happen to all of us from time to time, it is part of our everyday life. It is the body’s response to danger when we feel threatened, under pressure or in a stressful situation. This common form of every day worry is imperative to motivate us to solve problems. Anxiety is triggered by a specific action or situation which the brain responds to by motivating us to work our way out of a situation or engaging flight or fight when we are in danger. Normally as the trigger disappears the corresponding anxiety will subside or at least lessen significantly. Problems arise when the feeling of anxiety remains or increases after the trigger has gone. When these feeling of anxiety continue and become out of proportion, interfering with daily life and the ability to function properly, it generally means that a person may have developed an anxiety disorder.










What is an anxiety disorder?

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

GAD is a common is a common disorder where the central feature is excessive worry over a number of events associated with heightened anxiety. Symptoms are usually present for at least 6 months.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder involves recurring, unexpected attacks of severe anxiety. They normally las between 30 and 45 minutes.

OCD

OCD is characterised by unpleasant and distressing obsessions and/or compulsions that the person feels driven to perform to gain a temporary relief from anxiety. For example someone afraid of infectious disease may have a shower each time they go to the toilet. The symptoms cause significant distress and interruption of normal daily life.

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a fear in places or situations where escape maybe difficult in the event of having a panic attack. Situations include crowds, public transport, shops, lifts, queues and other places away from home. The fear results in avoidance strategies and behaviour for everyday life.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder is a fear of or anxiety about one or more social or performance situations that is out of proportion to the activity. Situations commonly include eating, drinking, speaking or performing in public. There will be excessive worry both before and after the event.


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