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The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders: Explained


Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. In fact, a large portion of the population suffers from some form of the disorder. But what are they? This article will explore the different types of anxiety disorders and provide a definition for each one.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This mental health issue affects millions of people around the world. Lots of people get diagnosed with this once they start their anxiety treatment which is great because the psychiatrist will know how to help the patient. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is when an individual experiences excessive worry and fear that is not connected to any particular event or situation.

Symptoms may include feeling constantly on edge, having difficulty concentrating, being easily startled, restlessness, insomnia, muscle tension, and stomach discomfort. It is important to get help for generalized anxiety disorder as it can cause significant distress and impairment in functioning if untreated.

Common treatments for GAD include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation techniques such as meditation, lifestyle changes, exercise, and medication. If you think you may be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder then speak to your doctor today.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

Being overly concerned about something is a normal part of life, but if it becomes excessive, it could be OCD. It stands for an obsessive-compulsive disorder which is a type of anxiety that involves intrusive and reoccurring thoughts, feelings, or urges (obsessions) along with behaviors associated with those thoughts (compulsions). OCD affects roughly 2% of the population and can have a profound effect on the quality of life.

People with OCD often experience obsessions that cause stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. These obsessions usually come in the form of worries about contamination from germs or dirt, fear that harm will come to someone else; worries about making mistakes, or thoughts about religious beliefs. In response to these worries, compulsions are used to reduce stress and mitigate the anxiety associated with OCD.

These compulsions can range from cleaning activities, checking behaviors, counting rituals, or repeating words to oneself. OCD is a treatable condition with therapy and medication being used as treatment options.

It can be treated with cognitive behavior therapy, exposure and response prevention, or medications such as antidepressants. OCD can be managed with the right treatment plan and lifestyle changes to help reduce stress and improve quality of life. 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

This disorder can be caused by any type of traumatic event a person has lived through. These may be the following:

  • Accidents
  • Childhood trauma
  • War
  • Assault or abuse
  • Natural disaster

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can have severe and long-lasting symptoms. Sufferers may experience the following:

  • Flashbacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Intense fear and feelings of helplessness
  • Hypervigilance – always being on alert
  • Difficulty concentrating

For some PTSD sufferers, talking to a professional counselor or psychotherapist can be an effective way of managing it. Through therapy, they can learn strategies to cope with and manage the symptoms caused by this disorder. Medication may also be recommended by a healthcare professional.

Panic Disorder

Being prone to panic attacks can be a debilitating and frightening experience, which is why this is classified as an anxiety disorder. It is a specific type of panic attack that tends to happen suddenly and unexpectedly. In some cases, panic attacks may be triggered by certain events or situations such as public speaking, heights, or claustrophobia-inducing places.

Symptoms of panic disorder can include rapid heartbeat, sweating, difficulty breathing, trembling, chest pain or discomfort, feeling dizzy and faint, a fear of dying or going crazy, nausea, and/or chills. To treat it, panic disorder is typically treated with medication and/or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Social Phobia

Lots of people are scared to socialize. Social anxiety disorder is more than just shyness or being uncomfortable in social situations. It’s a mental health condition that affects how someone interacts with other people and can cause significant distress in their life.

People with social phobia are excessively self-conscious and overwhelmed by fear of being judged or embarrassed by others. They worry about saying or doing something wrong, having others notice their physical symptoms like blushing or sweating, or simply feeling out of place.

To treat social phobia, people will often use a combination of medication and therapy. As with other anxiety disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular choice.

Separation Anxiety

Feeling down whenever you get separated from a loved one is often diagnosed as separation anxiety. It is a disorder that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. This type of anxiety can be especially difficult for children since separation from parents or guardians may feel more pronounced than separation from friends or peers.

To treat separation anxiety, it is important to understand what triggers the feeling of separation. People with separation anxiety may be more sensitive to changes in their environment or become overwhelmed when facing a new situation.


This is the most serious type of anxiety disorder, and it is characterized by feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and low self-esteem. Symptoms include changes in appetite or sleep patterns, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyable, depression or irritability. People with depression often have thoughts about death or suicide.

To treat depression, it is important to get professional help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication are the two most common treatments for depression. The medication also works to treat depression and can help reduce symptoms, but it must be taken as prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist.


This disorder is an intense fear of being in certain places or situations that can cause a person to feel helpless, embarrassed, or trapped. Symptoms often involve an irrational fear of leaving home or being in public spaces like malls, arenas, airports, and crowded streets.

People with agoraphobia may avoid these environments altogether and may even become agoraphobic if they experience panic attacks in any of them. Treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy and medications such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines. It is important to note that agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder and not a phobia.

Anxiety disorders are serious mental health issues that should never be taken lightly and treatment is encouraged no matter which one a person is suffering from. These are the most common ones with their own unique sets of challenges and ways of treatment. Make sure to do a lot of research so you can get the best possible help for your issues!


Laurent Pinci
Laurent Pinci
Pillars of Wellness is a truly Integrated Healthcare Centre providing a high degree of collaboration and communication among health providers.