Everyone experiences nervousness or worries at some time in stressful situations. For some people, anxiety can take on a different dimension, including outright fear and panic, or a disabling daily condition, which is affecting your capacity to live the life you want to.

Anxiety Disorders can be categorised in different ways so there are different views as to the number that there are. Some of the main types are given below:

- ANXIETY DISORDER CAUSED BY A MEDICAL CONDITION: sometimes a physical problem or condition such as a hormonal imbalance, breathing or heart problems can cause anxiety;

- PHOBIAS: Having a phobia means that you experience fear in situations where there is actually little or no danger. You might for example have a specific fear of flying, or of spiders, or of closed spaces, or of bridges. One of the main types of phobia is SOCIAL PHOBIA, which involves a fear of embarrassing yourself in social situations or at particular kinds of event such as parties, presentations or meetings.

- PANIC DISORDER, as the name implies, involves having panic attacks unexpectedly or repeatedly for no apparent rational reason. Panic attacks are not life threatening but when they are experienced you may feel as if you are about to die or have a heart attack.

- POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: if you have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a serious car accident, a bomb or a natural disaster, or have suffered a personal trauma such as sexual or physical assault it can lead to symptoms such as recurring nightmares, irritability, concentration difficulties, severe anxiety or fear that the event might recur.

- GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER: If you have experienced 6 months or more of severe worry and tension which is either not warranted by your situation or is much more than the levels of anxiety which most people would feel in the situation, then you may be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Most commonly the anxiety might be about health, work, financial or family issues.

- OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER: This involves experiencing unwanted thoughts or compulsive behaviours which seem impossible to control and which are either senseless, harmful or socially unacceptable.

- SUBSTANCE INDUCED ANXIETY DISORDER: Drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines and sedatives can alter your mood and make you feel anxious or worried.

If you feel that you may be suffering from any of the above conditions, then you should seek advice from your doctor. Additionally, simple things that you can do to help yourself, can include:

- Learning a method of relaxation to practise regularly, such as breathing in a relaxed, slow way from your diaphragm, focusing on your breaths and counting them down from say 30 or 40;

- Focusing on the essential activities that you have to achieve in the day and eliminating unnecessary activities that might produce excessive stress.

- Identifying the negative thoughts that tend to run through your mind when you are getting anxious and preparing coping statements which you can say to yourself when the situation presents, to remind yourself of what is happening and help you. For example, if you have a panic attack you might remind yourself that anxiety and panic attacks are not life-threatening, just uncomfortable, or if you are experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder because of a past event, you might remind yourself that the event is in the past and that you are safe now.

- Try not to be too self critical of yourself. Many people experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. You are a normal valuable human being who is going through a difficult time. It is possible for you to get much better control of your situation but it may take time and patience, so don’t put extra pressure on yourself by expecting everything to change immediately.

Appropriate support from a life coach, counsellor, social worker or health professional with training in dealing with anxiety disorders can also be invaluable in helping you to devise more specific strategies and provide a structure to assist and encourage you in your efforts to progress.

Author's Bio: 

David Bonham-Carter, MA, DipSW, CPE is an international life coach and stress consultant with over 15 years experience in the field of personal change management who has been featured on BBC radio giving expert life coaching advice.

Stress and Anxiety Management, London, Bristol, UK and Worldwide.

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