Types of Anxiety Disorders

anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorder is characterized by intense fear and worry, which disrupts your everyday life. These are the following types of anxiety disorders you should be aware of:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This is the chronic form of anxiety disorder, where the person suffers from extreme fear due to a known cause. It causes both physical and psychological distress in people. If a person has GAD, the symptoms may lasts for six months or more. This anxiety disorder may develop in early childhood or adulthood and last for a long term. Some of the common symptoms of GAD are:

  • Persistently intense fear and apprehension of the cause factor(the thing/person/event you fear)
  • Uncontrolled thoughts that the fear would come true
  • Hyper vigilance i.e. increased sensitivity and consciousness
  • Complaints of physical ordeals like muscle soreness, trembling, heart palpitations, chest pains, difficulty in breathing, indigestion, frequent urination, sweating, fainting, dizziness and trouble while swallowing food
  • Having difficulty in sleeping

(To learn more, visit Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

Panic Disorder

When you face an accident or a disaster, or get attacked by someone, you show sudden terror and fear. That is known as panicking. However, for some people, the panic attacks occur more frequently, even in absence of stressful events. If you feel an unexpected fear, out of nowhere, you might be having the panic disorder. Most of these panic attacks last for ten minutes or more. The symptoms associated with panic disorder are:

  • A sudden, abrupt onset of terror without any relevant reason
  • Having difficulty in breathing
  • Cold and hot flushes
  • Heart Palpitations ( rapid heartbeat)
  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness around hands and legs
  • Feeling that you’re completely out of control
  • Unreasonable fear that you’re going to have a heart attack or die
  • Indigestion

(To read more, Visit Panic Disorder)


This is one of the severe cases of anxiety disorder in which you feel scared and fearful of open or large public places. If you’re having this disorder, you tend to stay away from public places such as marketplace, malls, parks, and theatres to make yourself feel safe. The common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in general activities like crossing a road or bridge, traveling through tunnels or driving in through heavy traffic
  • Dizziness and fainting when visiting large public places
  • Uneasiness in abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Confine oneself to own home, and avoidance

(To read more, visit Agoraphobia)

Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)

Social Anxiety Disorder causes the fear and anxiety of different social conditions and interactions. If you’re having social phobia, you’ll feel intense nervousness and consciousness while carrying out tasks in public such as eating in front of others, speaking in public and using public lavatory. Some common symptoms of social phobia are:

  • Extreme fear of getting humiliated or embarrassed in front of others
  • Avoidance from any social gatherings and interactions
  • Being overly conscious in front of others
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety; trembling, stomach ache, dry mouth, racing heartbeat, confusion, nausea and vomiting, sweating, difficulty in swallowing and freezing up

(To read more, visit Social Anxiety Disorder)

Specific Phobias

Specific phobias are marked by persistent and unreasonable fear of a certain item, condition or activity. If you’re having specific phobias, you’d show signs of intense nervousness and anxiety when confronted with the particular object you fear. Most commonly, people tend to have situational phobia (fear of elevators, confined areas, flight and other such situations), animal phobias, and haemophobia (fear of blood), et cetera. Some symptoms include:

  • Intense fear and panic attack triggered by the onset of specific thing or situation causing the anxiety
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety such as breathing rapidly, sweating, fainting or dizziness, muscle tension, nausea and vomiting, dry mouth and accelerated heart rate
  • Avoidance and distress interferes with everyday activities and social relationships

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder causes repetitive and obsession with specific activities as a result of irrelevant fear and worry. A person having OCD tends to repeatedly and compulsorily perform inessential daily chores like washing hands, scrubbing floors or turning off lights, as means to relieve fear and anxiety. Symptoms include:

  • Persistent and recurring thoughts and impulses associated with certain anxiety and fear
  • Repetitive activities (e.g.: washing hands, checking lights, cleaning and scrubbing, praying, counting), intended towards avoiding or eliminating any fearful situation
  • These obsessive and compulsive activities become uncontrollable, and might take up a significant amount of the day
  • The person establishes these obsessions like strict rules to be followed in his/her life
  • Distress if unable to perform any such possessive tasks

(To read more, Visit Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD))

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This is one of the types of anxiety disorder where the person suffers from extreme anxiety and distress as an aftermath of a horrid event/situation. Any normal person would show worry and fear upon a terrifying experience. However, if the anxiety lasts for six months or more, the person might be facing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms include:

  • Recurring thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares about a traumatic event or situation causing prolonged stress
  • Extreme anxiety and worrying about anything associated with the event
  • Avoidance from any object/situation associated with the event
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Irritability and anger
  • Symptoms may bring physical ordeals like muscles tension, nausea, difficulty in breathing and other signs of panicking

(To read more, visit Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD))

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder centers on intense fear and worrying about getting separated from home, family or loved ones. This type of disorder shows prolonged fear of separation lasting at least four weeks or more. In majority cases, the disorder tend to have started when the person got detached and separated from family and loved ones, or faced a certain situation that could have brought the separation. This disorder is mostly common in children. Major symptoms include:

  • Constant distress and worrying about getting separated from home, family or an attached figure
  • Anxiety that something dreadful and harmful might occur with one’s attached people
  • Refusal to go to school, work or any places due to the fear of getting separated
  • Unwilling to stay alone or without presence of a loved one
  • Recurring thoughts and nightmares associated with separating events
  • Physical symptoms ( fainting, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, difficulty in breathing and related signs) may occur whenever the person feels he/she is being separated

(To read more, Visit Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Substance or medication induced Anxiety Disorder

This type of anxiety disorder shows prominent symptoms of anxiety as a consequence of use or withdrawal of a drug or medication. If the disorder is a resultant of substance use, symptoms last till the time period of use. If the disorder onsets after withdrawal of the substance, symptoms last for almost four weeks. The disorder can be recognized by:

  • Extreme anxiety and worrying
  • Onset of panic attacks
  • Symptoms particularly occurs during the use of medication/drugs, or after the intake is stopped

The signs and symptoms may look similar to above mentioned types, but are not actually any of them. There should be intake or withdrawal of any substance associated with the symptoms. If any symptom had been present before the involvement with the substance/drugs, it can be one of the above types of anxiety disorder.

(To read more, visit Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder)