What Kinds of Anxiety Affect People With Cancer?
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Adjustment disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Anxiety disorders caused by other general medical conditions.
Adjustment disorder includes behaviors or moods that are more extreme than expected in a reaction to a cancer diagnosis. Symptoms include:
- Severe nervousness
- Feeling jittery
- Inability to go to work, attend school, or be with other people.
Adjustment disorder is more likely to occur in cancer patients during critical times of the disease. These include being tested for the disease, learning the diagnosis, and experiencing a relapse of the disease. Many cancer patients can achieve relief from adjustment disorder in several ways, including:
- Receiving reassurance from caregivers
- Using relaxation techniques
- Taking medication
- Participating in support and education programs.
Patients with panic disorder experience intense anxiety. Patients may suffer from:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart beat
- Profuse sweating
- Tingling sensations
- Fear of "going crazy."
Attacks may last for several minutes or several hours and are treated with medication. Symptoms of panic disorder may be similar to other medical conditions.