Many people use the term “anxiety” to describe feelings of discomfort, worry, or unease about a situation. While that type of anxiety is valid, anxiety disorders are a bit different. A diagnosed anxiety disorder is a mental health condition in which individuals may respond to certain situations with feelings of fear, dread, and panic. There are also physical symptoms of anxiety disorders, some of which include a pounding heart, sweating, sleep problems, shortness of breath, and more. There are several types of anxiety disorders, five of which we’ll discuss below. Read on to learn about what anxiety disorders are, how they are classified, 5 different types of anxiety disorders, and how pharmacogenetics testing could help those with anxiety disorders find the right medication for their condition.
What are Anxiety Disorders?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines anxiety disorders as extreme anxiety and worry that may or may not be associated with certain physical signs.1 Restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, phobias, and other forms of distress can be grouped into anxiety disorders.
Although there are many varieties, the five most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Individuals with GAD tend to experience chronic anxiety and a heightened sense of uneasiness which may or may not be related to something specific.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). People with OCD tend to have obsessive, compulsive thoughts that may present in repetitive behaviors. Common OCD behaviors include excessive hand washing, counting, checking, hoarding, repeated asking for reassurance, and other “rituals” that are performed to provide individuals with temporary relief of anxiety.
- Panic Disorder. This involves repeated bouts of intense fear that may come with physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, tingly or numb hands, trembling, and more.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Exposure to traumatic events such as explosions, assaults, military combat, natural or human-caused disasters, and abuse may trigger PTSD in certain individuals.
- Social Phobia (also referred to as Social Anxiety Disorder). The crippling fear and self-consciousness associated with social phobia or social anxiety disorder may cause people with this condition to avoid participating in social events or activities or be portrayed as fear of public speaking, eating in front of others, having trouble speaking on the phone, and acute phobia of meeting new people.2
Different Types of Medication for Anxiety Disorders
People who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders may find relief through different means, some of which include talk therapy and psychiatric medication. Some of the most common anti-anxiety drugs that are regularly prescribed for those with anxiety disorder are benzodiazepines. Alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan) are all benzodiazepines that are regularly used as anti-anxiety medications.
Can Genetic Testing Help with Finding the Right Anxiety Disorder Medication?
Everyone responds differently to medication, whether it’s for mental health, physical health, or a combination. Pharmacogenetics testing may help identify genetic factors that could influence how someone will interact with a drug by analyzing their genetic makeup. This could eliminate the trial-and-error period most patients go through when starting a medication.
How is Pharmacogenetic Testing Done for Anti-Anxiety Medication?
Pharmacogenetic testing with ClarityX is simple, easy, and non-invasive. All that is required is a sample of the individual’s DNA, which can be obtained from saliva. Once acquired, this DNA sample is sent to a lab that looks for enzyme variations that could affect how a drug gets metabolized. The potential benefits of pharmacogenetic testing for anti-anxiety meds could be life-changing for many. With the ability to prevent individuals from suffering adverse (sometimes life-threatening) reactions, pharmacogenetic testing could put those with different types of anxiety disorders on their way to a higher quality of life sooner than they thought possible.
Choose ClarityX for Anxiety Disorder Genetic Testing
ClarityX provides fast and easy genetic testing for anti-anxiety medications. Our Mindwell test provides both patients and doctors with an important set of information that can help them decide the best type of medication for an anxiety disorder. Save time and prevent unwanted side effects with ClarityX genetic testing. Contact us today to learn more.
1Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Impact of the DSM-IV to DSM-5 Changes on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2016 Jun. Table 3.15, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Generalized Anxiety Disorder Comparison. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519704/table/ch3.t15/
2(DCD), D. C. D. (2021, October 20). What are the five major types of anxiety disorders? HHS.gov. Retrieved September 2, 2022, from https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html