Confused about numerous anxiety disorders? This is not surprising because there is a great deal of overlap between them. There is also a lot of misinformation going around about what characterizes each disorder.
A panic attack is an abrupt surge of fear or acute discomfort. It includes severe physical symptoms that escalate very quickly (usually within a few minutes).
Illness anxiety (formerly known as hypochondriasis and health anxiety) is a preoccupation with having or getting a serious disorder despite having no symptoms or only benign symptoms.
An occupational therapist colleague of mine, Victoria Prooday, recently posted an image on her professional Facebook page. The cartoon picture showed two people sitting at the opposite sides of a bus.
Social anxiety (also known as Social Phobia) is a misunderstood condition. People often confuse it with being introverted or shy. But introverts are not by definition socially anxious. A person can be perfectly comfortable around people but may not enjoy loud gatherings. While extroverts feel energized after crowded get-togethers, introverts feel depleted and need to recuperate. Introverts, therefore, prefer solitary activities, but do not suffer from social anxiety. They may stay home on a Friday night feeling perfectly content.