What Are the Main Types of Anxiety Disorders?

Carter Marcus
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Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive and persistent worry. The worry can be focused on anything, from specific situations to random topics. There are several types of anxieties, including social anxiety, PTSD, panic disorder, and OCD. These types of anxieties can usually be separated into two categories: specific and general. An anxiety disorder can be a general or a specific type, and it is not a requirement that all people with an anxiety disorder have both types. Having both types just means that you will have a greater experience of anxiety. In addition, you will be more likely to experience excessive anxiety.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Impulsivity
  • Irritability
  • Irrational threats
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis

These symptoms can be subtle or just depend on the type of anxiety disorder that you have. Many individuals suffering from anxiety disorders do not realize it until the problem escalates or intensifies. Keep in mind that these symptoms are not to be confused with personality disorders. Personality disorders are often characterized by inflexibility with certain conditions. Because of this inflexibility, the people with personality disorders have inadequate social skills which can lead to problems.

Panic Disorder

A panic disorder is a condition in which a person has recurrent unexpected panic attacks.

There is a constant fear, or anxiety, of another panic attack, and some people experience worries just thinking about possible future panic attacks.

Panic attacks can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, and happen unpredictably throughout the day and night. No matter how many times people have panic attacks, each one is extremely upsetting and frightening.

In addition to the feared panic attack, some people worry about when and where they will have the next attack, increasing the anxiety and creating a fear of places or situations where panic attacks have previously occurred.

Unfortunately, this fear of having another panic attack makes people avoid situations where they believe they may have a panic attack. This avoidance can go on for many years, greatly affecting a person’s life. This is known as agoraphobia, which literally means fear of being in a large public place.

Habits such as drinking alcohol or smoking, certain recreational drugs, or relaxed and irregular eating may be used to keep panic attacks away. But most people with panic disorder have to deal with the symptoms without relying on these habits.

Panic disorder often runs in families, so if you believe you have this condition, discuss it with your family members, who are your best advocates and biggest support.


Agoraphobia means having a fear of being in a crowded place. This fear may be the result of a panic attack in a public place or the fear of having a panic attack. Most people who have agoraphobia need to avoid public places or things like riding in buses or going to a movie.

Some of the other main types of anxiety disorders include fear of doing things or fear of things, such as heights, insects, confined spaces, or driving.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by ongoing and excessive worry about a number of different things. Symptoms include fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating and muscle tension.

Is characterized by ongoing and excessive worry about a number of different things. Symptoms include fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating and muscle tension. Specific Phobias in which people are very fearful of specific objects or situations. These phobias can be of specific animals or even situations, like heights or storms.

In which people are very fearful of specific objects or situations. These phobias can be of specific animals or even situations, like heights or storms. Social Anxiety Disorder – This type of disorder can cause a person to be overly concerned about how he or she is seen by others. This can cause people to avoid social interactions and feel anxious in social situations.


Phobias are stress responses to objects or situations that scare us. Almost everyone fears something, and the root of this fear can range from a rational to an irrational one. Most phobias can be traced back to an experience in which the person faced a frightening event, whether these events were real or not. A significant number of phobias have to do with either childhood experiences, or a general fear of common situations like heights, social encounters, illness, etc.

The consequences of phobias have been described as far-reaching. They can manifest themselves in a variety of ways and levels of severity.

In some severe cases, phobias can lead to agoraphobia, which is the fear of public places and open spaces. In others, they might cause panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense fear that are accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath and heart palpitations.

Agoraphobia is one of the most important types of anxiety disorders. Although it is rare, it can also be a very serious condition. Anyone who experiences agoraphobia should seek treatment right away.


Often when we hear the term anxiety disorder, this refers to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. This is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted and intrusive thoughts known as obsessions, and repetitive, ritualistic behaviors or mental acts known as compulsions. Such rituals as counting, constant checking, and touching are done to prevent or get rid of the dreaded obsession. It is reasonable to say that OCD is part of anxiety in general, since the disorder triggers anxiety. People with OCD do not want to carry out their compulsions, but they feel that they have to. The disorder is associated with an increased stress level and anxiety. Moreover, the stressful thoughts associated with the disorder interfere with the person’s quality of life.

Social anxiety disorder is a phobia in which a person is diagnosed as having a high level of anxiety and fear in social situations. SAD is closely related to shyness, but those two are not the same. A person might have a lot of anxiety in a situation where there are strangers, or a person might have a tendency to withdraw in the presence of unfamiliar people or scrutiny. The symptoms of this disorder are avoidance, panic attacks, increase in blood pressure, sweating, and inability to stand or speak in social situations.


One type of anxiety disorder is PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This anxiety disorder is a result of a painful, traumatic or frightening experience, such as an assault. It can also cause severe psychological distress and physical symptoms such as:

  • Nightmares
  • Avoidance of people that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Depersonalization or derealization
  • A sense that you are no longer in control

Other types of Anxiety Disorders include:

Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is the fear of many places or situations, which may cause a panic attack. Panic attacks are severe, sudden periods of fear or uneasiness, which often include physical symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Breathing problems
  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating

Panic attacks typically include fear of imminent death, impending doom or losing control or going crazy. Agoraphobia can cause you have difficulty traveling in public places, doing everyday activities in places that could be perceived as unsafe and fearful thoughts that you can’t control them.


Many think of depression as the same thing as sadness, but depression is more than a feeling. It’s a real debilitating disorder. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Sadness, anger, irritability, frustration, and anxiety
  • Apathy and low energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite, with either a loss of appetite or cravings for certain foods or eating binges

Separation Anxiety

  • People with this disorder may experience physical symptoms such as nausea, sweating and trembling.
  • This disorder affects about 6.8 million American adults.
  • Women are twice more likely to get this disorder than men.
  • If you have this disorder, you have excessive and irrational worry about losing a loved one. If you have this disorder, you will experience excessive physical symptoms when you are separated from someone you are close to.
  • You will also have intense worry when you are apart from someone you are close to as well.
  • If you have this disorder, you will have a hard time being alone.
  • You will have a lot of fears related to separation. One of which is the worry that you will not see your loved one again.
  • You will feel like it will be hard to go on without your loved one.
  • You may also feel guilty when your loved one is away from you.

Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is a rare disorder that is estimated to affect about 1 in every 1,000 children in the United States. It’s characterized by extreme shyness that starts before the age of 5. The children are unable to speak in certain situations, such as school or other social settings.

In some cases, the disorder will resolve itself by early adulthood, but in other cases, it continues to affect the person through adulthood. Other types of anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder, which is also a type of specific phobia. Social anxiety disorder refers to an intense fear of social situations. The fear and anxiety interferes with a person’s ability to function in normal social settings.