Anxiety is common among many people — from children to adolescents and even adults. As a matter of fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common type of mental health condition.
However, even though it is common, anxiety is not the same for everyone. It is imperative to note that anxiety always has an origin. The source or cause of anxiety can greatly influence how an individual experiences it. Understanding the various types of anxiety and which one you are dealing with will help you understand why you are feeling the way you are. In this article, we discuss 4 common types of anxiety and where to seek help for them.
1. Social anxiety
Social anxiety is often referred to as a fear of social situations. Unfamiliar social circumstances may be the primary source of social anxiety for certain people. Meeting new individuals in scenarios such as job interviews and work or school related activities might trigger social anxiety. However, in certain circumstances, people may find themselves experiencing fear and anxiety in practically every social interaction. Even simple tasks like answering the phone or dining in a public location might become intimidating or frightening.
This type of anxiety is often a result of having been shamed in the past or having witnessed someone in a traumatic social situation. It manifests in various ways, such as shortness of breath, trembling and blushing.
2. Performance anxiety
Fear of one’s capacity to carry out a certain activity is known as performance anxiety. People who struggle with performance anxiety could be concerned about failing a task even before it has started. They could think that failing would make them look foolish or feel humiliated. Although it can happen with any work, performance anxiety often occurs in situations such as competing in a sports event, making a speech, or sitting for an examination.
The causes of performance anxiety often involve having been ridiculed in the past or unrealistic expectations from parents. Trembling, nausea, shortness of breath, and an upset stomach are all typical signs of performance anxiety. Some individuals may even engage in escape behaviours, such as avoiding the task.
3. Separation anxiety
Separation anxiety is characterised as feelings of excessive worry or fear in response to being apart from a loved one. While it is most commonly associated with young children, it can also affect adults.
The loss of an attachment figure, whether through moving away or being apart even for a period of time, may all be sources of separation anxiety in people. For instance, having experienced their parents getting divorced can result in a child suffering from separation anxiety. Excessive sadness, fear, and reluctance when removed from an attachment figure are all symptoms of this form of anxiety.
4. Generalised anxiety
Unlike the types of anxiety mentioned above, generalised anxiety is a chronic disorder that can occur without a specific trigger. Individuals diagnosed with this type of anxiety spend a lot of time thinking about a range of upcoming circumstances. Health, relationships, employment, social interactions, and ordinary occurrences are just some examples of what the focus of worry may be.
Despite the fact that there is no specific trigger for generalised anxiety, that is not to say that there isn’t a source. Some potential causes of generalised anxiety include abuse, bullying, prolonged exposure to stressful situations, dysfunctional families and more.
As for the symptoms of this type of anxiety, most individuals will feel on edge, worry excessively and have problems concentrating.
If anxiety is causing disruptions to your life and making day-to-day activities challenging, it is recommended that you seek the help of a professional. When left untreated, anxiety can have severe detrimental effects on your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Because anxiety varies from individual to individual, a professional equipped with the knowledge and expertise can help you identify the root cause of your anxiety, no matter the type. It is crucial to keep in mind that anxiety is often a symptom of a bigger problem, such as unresolved past hurts or trauma.
For those looking for counselling for anxiety problems in Singapore, our psychotherapist at Emotional Wellness can help you out. We adopt a selection of integrative counselling and psychotherapy techniques such as eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioural therapy, schema therapy, bibliotherapy and more, to help you resolve your past hurts and free you from emotional distress. Besides anxiety, we offer a range of youth counselling services in Singapore for a variety of issues including depression, exam stress, eating disorders, low self-esteem and more.
Contact us today for more information and let’s work together to overcome your anxiety.