Anxiety 101 – Types of Anxiety Part 2
by Amanda Ollier | on September 22, 2012
Common Types of Anxiety
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Separation Anxiety Disorder are three more types of anxiety disorder commonly seen in our society today. Along with General Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks and Phobias, discussed in a previous post, they are extremely debilitating for those plagued by them.
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder which is often misunderstood and even ridiculed because of the sometimes bizarre rituals that sufferers have to go through in order to alleviate their anxiousness.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD as it’s more commonly known, is characterised by its repetitive nature. Sometimes it is merely thoughts that are repetitive, but often actions play an important role too and in both cases these repetitions are distressing and intrude on the sufferers life and the lives of those around them.
Whilst OCD sufferers are usually aware that their compulsions are irrational, they feel powerless to stop them because of the overwhelming anxiety which will ensue if they don’t carry out the ritualistic behaviour.
Common examples of compulsive behaviour are
- Obsessive cleaning of hands
- Obsessive cleaning of personal possessions
- Checking locks, cookers or lights several times
- Walking in a certain pattern
- Performing routine tasks in a specific and exact way
In its most extreme form, OCD can literally imprison sufferers in a routine of rules and rituals.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
“She was never quite the same after that”
“It sent him over the edge and gave him funny turns” etc
It is a type of anxiety brought on as the result of some kind of trauma, such as being in a serious accident or being raped for example. The thing which seems to have propelled it into people’s awareness and made it less taboo, is that it is also found in those who have served in hostile military or public service type situations. As these incidents have become more prevalent and those affected have grown in number, the condition has become more socially acceptable.
One of the main characteristics of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is that it often entails flashbacks and sufferers find themselves making significant behavioural changes in order to avoid certain triggers.
I worked with a client who had dreadful flashbacks from ‘active’ military campaigns. Loud unexpected noises sent him diving for cover and sometimes he was unable to sleep for days on end. When we first started working on his recovery, he was not able to work or maintain any close personal relationships because his symptoms were so severe. I’m pleased to say that he was able to overcome his anxiety cycle and is now leading a full and happy life.
What is Separation Anxiety Disorder?
Separation Anxiety Disorder is usually associated with young children, though it can continue until later life. It causes high levels of anxiety when the sufferer becomes separated from someone or somewhere that they associate with feeling safe and secure.
Most children show signs of distress when separation occurs, like when they are left at nursery for the first time for example, and this is quite normal. It stems from our herding and community instincts and often it is merely the child’s way of appealing to it’s parent, much like the red throated cuckoo in the nest. It is considered a problem only when the level of reaction becomes excessive or inappropriate.
If you suffer from anxiety, or know someone who does, you may like to read the other posts in this series. You can find the Anxiety 101 series here. It will help you to understand the causes and effects of anxiety and some ways to help deal with it.
If you have enjoyed this post, please do share it and leave a comment below.