The Many Faces of Anxiety: 3 Little-Known Anxiety Disorders


Few of us are lucky enough to live anxiety-free. In fact, we’d wager that not a single person has lived a life untouched by a tightness in the stomach, tense muscles, a racing heart, or any other one of anxiety’s myriad of symptoms. This is because anxiety is a normal, even necessary part of life. It is the body’s alarm system, alerting us to potential dangers. Without it, what’s to stop us from wandering down life’s many dark alleys, literal or figurative? All too often, anxiety can get out of control, though.

Those who suffer from chronic anxiety are familiar with the havoc it can wreak. Panic attacks, insomnia, and GI problems are all common, debilitating symptoms that can make even simple activities insurmountable. These are far from the only issues caused by anxiety, however. Below we list three that you may not be familiar with.

Selective Mutism
More frequently exhibited in children than in adults, selective mutism is characterized by the inability to speak in certain situations, even when the individual can speak without issue in others. Less than one percent of children suffer from this disorder and most grow out of it. However, those who manifest selective mutism in childhood are more likely to develop other anxiety disorders as adults. A therapist familiar with the disorder is the most common treatment course for selective mutism.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
This disorder provokes a fixation on a perceived appearance flaw leading the sufferer to try to change it, cover it up, or gain others’ reassurance about it. In some cases, those with BDD resort to plastic surgery, though this only provides temporary relief. Eventually, the underlying disorder provokes a new fixation, eliciting the same extreme preoccupation, and eventually leading to more surgery. Some believe Michael Jackson to be the most well-known sufferer of BDD, though he was never diagnosed with the disorder. Treatment involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

Trichotillomania
You may not have heard about trichotillomania, but you’re probably familiar with a few of the people afflicted with this disorder, which include Olivia Munn, Sara Sampaio, Sam Faiers, Colin Farrell, Rachel Fairburn, and Justin Timberlake. Characterized by an overwhelming urge to pull hair from one’s body, most often from the eyebrows, scalp, or eyelashes, trichotillomania can cause problems when it results in noticeable hair loss or social isolation. Women are more likely to be afflicted with the disorder than men, and onset most frequently begins in the late teenage years. Habit reversal therapy coupled with medication has proven to be the most effective form of treatment.

The common thread connecting each of these uncommon disorders is their tendency to drive cycles of shame or guilt that inhibit relationship building and other touchstones of wellbeing. Often, depression is a corollary effect of anxiety-driven disorders. If this sounds familiar and you have struggled to find relief using conventional methods, you might consider a free consultation at our Boston or West Hartford area ketamine clinics. Through a free consultation, you will learn about the extraordinary success that ketamine therapy has had treating otherwise treatment-resistant forms of anxiety and depression.

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