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PTSD vs. Anxiety

How to Know if You Have PTSD vs. Anxiety

Anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health issues can happen to anyone. Being able to diagnose a problem within yourself is one of the first steps necessary for getting help to reclaim your life. Otherwise, you may be left feeling strung out, irritable, and exhausted.

Understanding the difference between post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety is the key to getting the help that you need.

What is the Difference Between PTSD vs. Anxiety?

Unfortunately, determining the difference between an anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder can be difficult, since they usually co-occur. PTSD and anxiety typically go hand-in-hand and are known to share similar symptoms. Although PTSD is also an anxiety disorder, people with PTSD have developed this disorder due to the previous experience of a traumatic event. 

For those suffering from an anxiety disorder, there often isn’t a trigger, scenario, or reason for you to feel anxious, and yet you will. Anxiety disorders come with a host of symptoms that you will feel both pathologically and physically.

If you think you suffer from PTSD, depression, or anxiety or worry and it is beginning to interfere with your daily activities, it is important that you visit a mental health professional to be evaluated accurately and start on a treatment plan to help you live a healthy life.

The Types of Anxiety Disorders:

There are five kinds of anxiety disorders, from OCD to PTSD, to Social anxiety disorders to generalized anxiety disorders.

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  3. Panic Disorder
  4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  5. Social Anxiety Disorder

Prolonged stress can easily develop into an anxiety disorder. In this case, the type of disorder you will likely develop won’t be PTSD or a panic disorder, which often result after trauma and are triggered by reminders. Instead, anxiety disorders that develop from prolonged stress are known as Generalized Anxiety Disorders or GAD.

The Symptoms of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder

There are a host of symptoms of GAD.

Pathological Symptoms

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty with Concentrating
  • Sense of Dread
  • Always on Edge

Physical Symptoms

  • Dizziness
  • Tired/Insomnia
  • Irregular Heart
  • Muscle Pain
  • Shakes
  • Headache
  • Nausea

The Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

The treatment for anxiety disorders will depend entirely on the type of anxiety disorder you have and your individual specifications.

Reduce Stress and Triggers

Even GAD will have its triggers. If stress at work is resulting in an anxiety disorder, then a change in duties performed at work, or even a change in working environments, is necessary. You will not be able to get better if the source of your stress is still prevalent in your life.

Get Help From a Mental Health Professional

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a very effective treatment for GAD. Support groups and other types of therapy have proven to be extremely valuable, as well.

Stick to Your Medication Regimen

It can be tempting to stop taking the medication once you feel you are in remission. This is a mistake. It is recommended when you have GAD to continue with your medication regimen for six to twelve months afterward. The medication you will likely take would be serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

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