Understanding Anxiety Disorders: Types, Triggers, and Coping Mechanisms

While occasional anxiety is normal, experiencing it as a daily routine could be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Living with constant anxiety can make the simplest of tasks seem overwhelming. However, understanding your anxiety disorder type, triggers, and any coping mechanisms that may work for you can make life more manageable. 

It is important to note that anxiety disorders can vary from person to person. What may trigger anxiety for one person may not necessarily be the same for another. 

What Are Common Types Of Anxiety?

crying woman hugging a man

There are many types of anxiety disorders. This blog will focus on three different types: Generalized Anxiety (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common types of anxiety disorders. It directly impacts a person’s mental and behavioral patterns. GAD will often display frequent, uncontrollable, and irrational fears and worries. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is another condition that affects mental and behavioral patterns. The individual with the disorder may have frequent intrusive thoughts, and they often believe that to be safe, they must repeat certain routines and actions. The problem is that this repetition interrupts their daily life.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder usually occurs from a traumatic event such as fighting in a war, sexual assault, or a car accident. It affects the person’s mood and behaviors by causing symptoms such as flashbacks, sudden panic attacks, night terrors, among others.

What Can Trigger These Disorders?

Each of these three disorders has its own causes and symptoms. The same can be said for their triggers. Identifying the triggers for your individual type of anxiety is critical to learning how to soothe yourself.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Triggers 

Since Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a broader type of anxiety disorder, it has many things that can trigger it. Some of these triggers can include:

  • Family drama
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Stress from jobs or school
  • Stress from an important event

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) also has a wide variety of triggers. It is also important to note that biological factors can come into play with OCD. If a parent or both parents have the disorder, you are much more likely to develop it as well. Other triggers can include:

  • Continuous stress
  • Traumatic childhood experiences
  • Abuse
  • Discrimination
  • Bullying
  • Sexual abuse
  • Pregnancy or giving birth 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

As previously mentioned, PTSD usually manifests from a traumatic event or experience. Therefore, its triggers would include things that remind the person of that experience. These triggers can include:

  • Loud fireworks that sound like guns and explosions from war
  • Getting into a vehicle similar to one you had an accident in
  • Trying to be intimate with a new romantic partner when you have been sexually abused

What Coping Mechanisms Can I Use For My Anxiety?

Professional anxiety therapists perform many of the techniques listed here, and they can be used for different types of anxiety.

  • Mediation: Mediation allows you to clear your mind, keep yourself grounded in reality, and create a sense of calmness.
  • Deep breathing exercises: Performing deep breathing exercises is a great way to combat the stress that anxiety causes. The idea is to breathe deeply into your diaphragm. Doing so can slow down rapid heartbeat and bring down high blood pressure.
  • Journaling: Writing down negative thoughts can be a great way to reduce stress. It helps you get these feelings off your chest. Close the journal and “put those negative thoughts away.” 
  • Delaying and distracting: Moving yourself away from your compulsions by doing something you enjoy can be one way to manage anxiety.

Living with an anxiety disorder can be a daunting experience. However, managing your disorder is possible by educating yourself and performing relaxing techniques. 

If you would like to learn more about anxiety and effective strategies for managing it, feel free to contact me