6 Different Types of Anxiety

6 Different Types of Anxiety

What Are the Different Types of Anxiety?

There are a wide range of anxiety disorders that encompass a multitude of afflictions, and each specific diagnosis does carry unique characteristics. While these anxiety disorders are relative in that they all have similar impacts, or are categorized the same way, they are still each unique in their own right.

Anxiety is something that anyone can experience at some point in life. However, when anxiety is persistent, it is then considered to be a disorder. The following disorders are serious mental illnesses related to anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

A person with generalized anxiety disorder develops excessive worry and tension for no reason at all. Typically, there is no real trigger that causes an anxiety episode, but rather, the person suffers from a near-constant fear or unease about most things.

Panic Disorder (PD)

Imagine suddenly having a striking fear or anxiety that occurs at any time? Panic disorder (PD) has no warning signs for an episode, and is often accompanied by a sense of choking or what is often described as a heart attack. While an actual heart attack does not usually occur, the strength of the affliction can feel quite real.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Many people find obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) fascinating and interesting. This disorder engages people in ritualistic behavior, developed from fears that if left unchecked, something bad will happen. These obsessions force them to complete a task, perhaps even multiple times, before they can finally relax. This can include anything from turning a light switch on and off to constant hand washing.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Also referred to as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder usually stems from a physical interaction that traumatizes the individual. Many war-torn soldiers suffer from this disorder after having witnessed or participated in something traumatic. It can also result from a physical or sexual assault, a natural disaster, or even the death of a close loved one. Emotions can be down played in people with PTSD.

Social Anxiety Disorder

People that fear being in social situations, whether through work or in their personal lives, can develop social anxiety disorder. Also referred to as social phobia, the main problem results from a fear that they will be judged by others for the behavior or appearance, causing them to become more introverted around other people.


Phobias can be either generalized or specific. These overwhelming fears can both paralyze a person with anxiety or give them an intense sense of unease. Typically, these phobias develop from trauma, but it is also very common for a phobia to occur for no specific reason at all. Phobias can include fear of pain from a specific thing (a needle or an animal bite), or of an activity (flying, heights, or driving). There are literally hundreds of diagnosed phobias plaguing people around the world.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

It is possible for the symptoms and signs to appear in one anxiety disorder but not another, meaning that they are not completely common for all disorders. It is also possible for a single person to suffer from multiple disorders or phobias, meaning that one trigger could engage several problems. For example, something with PTSD may also have a strong phobia developed from whatever developed the PTSD in the first place. Commonalities between the various disorders include:

  • A sense of panic or fear
  • Obsessive thought processes and repetition of thoughts
  • Flashbacks
  • Intense dreams or nightmares
  • Ritual behavior
  • Sleep problems
  • Cold and clammy hands or feet or numbness in the appendages
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
Marlene WallaceMarlene Wallace

Marlene is a seasoned RN and health writer. When not writing, Marlene enjoys gardening, traveling and volunteering at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics in Toronto.

Apr 3, 2014
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