Types of Anxiety Types of Anxiety

There are a wide variety of conditions that fall under the category of anxiety disorders. Each has its unique causes and symptoms, which can vary widely from case to case. The information here is meant to provide a general overview and cannot replace diagnosis by a qualified mental health practitioner.


Phobias are irrational fears of specific things, like spiders, public speaking or being in large crowds. There are hundreds of recognised phobias, each triggered by a particular item or situation. These fears may or may not have any basis on past experience and can become quite severe to the point that an individual will go to extreme lengths to avoid the object of their particular phobia.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Generalised anxiety disorder defined as extreme stress and worries about everyday situations that arise in daily life, typically lasting more than six months. Those who suffer from GAD often expect the worst from any given situation, even when there is no apparent reason to be worried. Over time, this overall feeling of anxiety can dominate a person’s thinking to the point that they can no longer function normally in daily life.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder represents an extreme fear of being judged in public settings. It can manifest itself in extreme shyness and avoidance of social contact. This anxiety disorder can also include excessive worry about offending others and extreme fear of embarrassment or humiliation. This fear is not assuaged by reassurance from others, as the affected person has vastly distorted thinking when it comes to the opinions of others.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder involves constantly reliving a traumatic event, such as combat, physical or sexual abuse, or a natural disaster. In many cases, sufferers experience vivid nightmares and flashbacks of the event, leading them to have a variety of emotional problems, including paranoia and anger management. This disorder is fairly common among members of the military.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

This disorder is characterised by obsessive worry about a particular adverse outcome that leads sufferers to ritualistically perform certain actions, like washing their hands or flicking a light switch a specified number of times. In severe cases, these compulsive actions can be debilitating to the person’s life, leaving them unable to care for themselves effectively.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder involves feelings of terror or impending doom, accompanied by the physical symptoms of panic attacks. This can include rapid heart rate, hyperventilation, dizziness or sweating, among other symptoms. Sometimes attacks are brought on by a particular event, while at other times, they seem to come out of nowhere with no apparent cause.

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