Most of us experience anxiety at some point in our lifetime. However, anxiety affects each of us in different ways.
Firstly, there are many different types of anxiety disorder. A few common examples include phobias, GAD, social anxiety, OCD and PTSD. Triggers can vary from each person, however the severity of the reaction to these triggers can also vary.
While some people may experience mild agitation, others can experience full blown panic attacks. Understanding what level of anxiety you experience can be important for finding the right course of treatment. This post takes a deeper look into the four different levels (mild, moderate, severe and panic level) and explains which treatments are best.
Mild anxiety is something we all experience from time to time. It is typically not classed as a clinical ‘disorder’ but can still have its negative effects. Mild anxiety typically results in anxious thoughts which may lead to us dreading certain everyday situations or taking certain overcautious steps that others may think are odd. However, people with mild anxiety are still able to face their fears and get on with everyday life.
A few examples of mild anxiety are included below:
- Someone with mild social anxiety may dread many social situations, but will ultimately still attend them and be able to cope with them.
- Someone with mild OCD involving cleaning may feel the need to clean things thoroughly, but this will not negatively affect their everyday life.
- Someone with mild PTSD from a car accident will still be able to get in a car but may have some anxiety surrounding it. They may have recurring nightmares and flashbacks, but will still be able to get enough sleep and carry out everyday tasks.
Think you may have mild anxiety? While this form of anxiety may not seem like much of a problem, it is important that you take steps to prevent it turning into a worse form of anxiety. Relaxation strategies like deep breathing and visualization can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. Medication is not needed for mild anxiety, but you can still use herbal remedies and look into therapy to help tame anxious thoughts.
Those with moderate anxiety typically experience feelings of fear more frequently and intensely. They may still partake in certain situations they are anxious about, but avoid others. People with moderate anxiety may also take longer preparing for situations or may carry out unnecessary rituals to help overcome fears, which may themselves become detrimental. However, by and large, people with moderate anxiety can still keep on top of their anxiety.
Below are a few examples of moderate anxiety:
- Someone with moderate social anxiety may avoid certain social situations, but will still be able to attend some social situations despite feeling anxious about them.
- Someone with moderate OCD involving cleaning may spend huge amounts of time cleaning things that don’t need to be cleaned in fear of germs, which could disrupt everyday life but not enough to cause significant problems.
- Someone with moderate PTSD from a car accident may avoid certain situations involving cars and may have more invasive nightmares or flashbacks.
Moderate anxiety is harder to tackle oneself. If you feel that your anxiety is at this level, it could be worth talking to a professional to get an official diagnosis. Prescription drugs may be recommended to help you relieve anxiety. Therapy is also very useful when tackling this form of anxiety. With the help of an expert, you can find ways to overcome mental blocks and stop anxiety from progressing into a more severe form.
Severe anxiety is the most debilitating form of anxiety. It can take the form of a constant dread which can make every day a struggle. The fear may be so great that people with this form of anxiety avoid certain situations altogether – situations which could be essential to everyday living. People with severe anxiety may also get caught in endless time-consuming rituals or may spend huge periods of the day worrying about things to the point that they cannot focus on other tasks. Severe anxiety can also lead to insomnia and other health problems. This is the type of anxiety that people cannot easily manage themselves.
Examples of severe anxiety are included below:
- Someone with severe social anxiety may avoid most social situations. It may take a great amount of encouragement or preparation to get them to socialize. They may suffer also from depression as a result.
- Someone with severe OCD involving cleaning may spend so much time carrying out cleaning tasks that they neglect other important tasks like work or spending time with family. They may even develop dermatitis on their hands from cleaning.
- Someone with severe PTSD from a car accident may not be able to get in a car again and may relive the accident constantly through flashbacks and nightmares, causing them to get little sleep and distracting them from everyday tasks. They may not even be able to watch movies involving car crashes.
If you feel that your anxiety is severe, it is essential that you look into professional help. There are many different forms of treatment that you can explore depending on the type of anxiety you experience. Seeing a specialist will usually help you to get the best results. One treatment for anxiety that could be worth considering is rehab treatment where you can immerse yourself in the treatment process. All forms of anxiety – no matter how severe – can be overcome with the right treatment and the right amount of determination.
For some people, feelings of anxiety can become so extreme that they result in panic attacks. While panic attacks are rarely ever dangerous, they can be scary and unpleasant. Being prone to panic attacks can also affect people’s ability to hold down a job or meet friends or even leave the house out of fear of having a panic attack. This makes the panic level even worse than severe in some cases.
What does a panic attack look like? You may be experiencing a panic attack if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden overwhelming fear that causes you to freeze or run away
- Cold chills accompanied by shivering or sweating
- Dizziness and the feeling you need to sit down
- Trouble breathing (hyperventilation)
- Nausea or even vomiting
To help you beat panic disorder, it is worth looking into therapy. Via therapy sessions you can learn different ways of fending off a panic attack. Often it comes down to confronting your triggers, as is the case with other forms of anxiety. Medication may also be able to help in making you feel calmer in situations where you may otherwise be prone to a panic attack. It is worth exploring different forms of treatment to see what works.
By working out your level of anxiety, you can find the most suitable form of treatment. Therapists may be able to help you diagnose what level your anxiety is at if you are unsure – whether your anxiety is mild or severe, it is always useful to talk to a therapist (especially if you feel you have no-one else to open up to).
In all cases, it is important to remember that you are not alone in facing your anxiety. Millions of people have anxiety (including millions of severe sufferers). And many of these people are getting treatment with the help of professionals. Don’t feel that you have to tackle anxiety alone.