Women were raised by society to be independent at such a young age, telling them not to depend on anyone but themselves. With patriarchy still in effect, women are still seen as secondary and unimportant as compared to their male counterparts. Anxiety can develop from this obvious neglect. With no one looking out for them, women can feel isolated and alone. Feelings of anxiety can easily arise from this.
Feeling anxious or worried is normal. But when this feeling is blown out of proportion and too much for you to handle that you risk developing panic attacks, then it becomes a problem. Anxiety represents an emotional response to a perceived future threat. It’s also the most commonly experienced mental condition in the US. According to Perri Klass, M.D., and Eileen Costello, M.D., “Never dismiss or play down your child’s anxiety. When they complain of a stomachache or headache in the morning before school, they’re not faking. The pain they feel is real, and may require clinical treatment.”
Types Of Anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
This condition is anxiety and tension felt on an exaggeration that lasts more than a month. Research shows that GAD impacts women twice as much than in men. Women who suffer from GAD repetitively think about everyday thoughts and activities to the point where these thoughts disrupt their daily routine. Additionally, this condition is associated with depression. Fatigues, headaches, irritability, restlessness, difficulty in concentrating and disturbed sleep are some physical manifestations of having GAD.
2. Panic Disorder
This disorder consists of two major symptoms: experiencing recurring, unexpected panic attacks and worrying about suffering from another attack and developing ways to counterattack this with maladaptive behavior. Symptoms last for at least a month for diagnosis. Many physical and mental conditions can accompany a panic attack. These are intense periods of panic and fear characterized by sweating, trembling, inability to breathe, chest pains and nausea triggered by intense worry or fear.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
“Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD can be characterized by repetitive, unnecessary activities, or compulsions (like lining up dishes over and over so they look “perfect.”)” according to clinical psychologist Robert A. Lavine Ph.D. This type is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. People suffering from OCD perform repetitive actions in the hopes of making the obsessive thoughts go away. These rituals only provide temporary relief, however, and failure to do them increases anxiety.
4. Social Anxiety Disorder
This disorder is also called social phobia. This disorder is characterized by excessive worry and fear involving one social situation where you feel you’ll be judged or criticized by everyone. Individuals diagnosed with this condition may feel embarrassed and humiliated by these interactions and will avoid these at all costs. This disorder is the third largest in the country, with about 7% of the population suffering from this in the US. Those who suffer from this condition are at risk of alcohol addiction and depression.
This condition is characterized by excessive worries and fears about a specific object or situation that is disproportionate to the actual threat itself. With the presence of the feared object comes an automatic anxious response. Signs associated with phobias are actively avoiding the feared object or event, coupled with a rapidly beating heart and a rush of nausea. Phobias evoke a strong sense of fear from the trigger object or event.
6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
This condition develops after you’ve experienced a life-threatening event, major injury or have endured extreme trauma. It could either have happened to you or vicariously through someone else. PTSD triggers are: being witness to a murder or tragic death, severe assault (sexual, physical, verbal), fighting in a war zone, severe physical injuries or accidents and experiencing natural disasters. Signs and symptoms of this condition may occur after three months or even years after the traumatic event. As a result, PTSD may also be accompanied by depression or develop a co-dependency on drugs and abusive substances.
These are the six major classifications of anxieties, signs to look out for, and what these are. As women forced to conform to society’s standards of ‘picture perfect,’ anxieties may pile up as you struggle to maintain this image for you and your family. However, remember that like physical ailments, anxiety is a mental condition that needs treatment. It can’t be brushed off for later.
If you’ve been feeling blown out of proportion anxious lately, you should immediately consult with a licensed therapist for diagnosis. “Regardless of the problem, stressor or hardship you may be experiencing, everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist. Therapy can help you overcome current stressors and arm you with the skills to effectively manage in the future,” says Megan Vossler, LCSW. You deserve happiness and be free from the mental and emotional toll anxiety carries. Receiving treatment for anxiety will help lessen the constant state of fear you find yourself in, and can help mold your thoughts into healthy, positive thinking. Take care of your mental health, and be streetwise.