Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Today’s hustle and bustle, and the high expectation to succeed, has contributed to many of us developing an increased level of stress and anxiety. However, if you experience unexpected and unexplained apprehension you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a common occurrence when a person faces potentially problematic or dangerous situations. It is also felt when a person perceives an external threat. However, chronic and irrational anxiety can lead to forms of anxiety disorders. An anxiety disorder can be characterized by a persistent and irrational fear of a situation. Yet, why a panic disorder is triggered in some situations and not in others is not clear. There are numerous types of anxiety disorders. Here we summarized the more common ones.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

A person who has this type of anxiety disorder usually experience prolonged anxiety that is often without basis. More accurately, people with generalized anxiety disorders cannot articulate the reason behind their anxiety. This type of anxiety usually last for six months and often affect women.  Due to the persistence of the anxiety, people affected with generalized anxiety disorder constantly fret and worry. This results to heart palpitations, insomnia, headaches, and dizzy spells. 


Specific Phobia

Specific phobia is when a person experiences extreme and often irrational fear of a certain situation or object. When this person is exposed to the object or situation they exhibit signs of intense fear like shaking, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and nausea. Common specific phobias include fear of heights, enclosed spaces, blood, and animals.  A person's phobia maybe so extreme that they may disregard safety to escape the situation. 


Panic Disorder

A panic disorder is also known as a panic attack or anxiety attack. It is characterized by a recurring anxiety which occurs expectedly and is unexplained. Symptoms include a deep sense of foreboding, shaking, chest pains, dizziness, trembling, sweating, fear of losing control, and a fear of being alone. People with panic disorder are aware their anxiety is usually unfounded and often illogical. Yet, a panic attack can be so severe it causes one to lose control and unintentionally harm themselves. 



Agoraphobia is a form of panic disorder that is brought on by the fear of being unable to easily escape one’s environment.  It can strike when one is in an enclosed space like a plane, train, subway etc.


Social Anxiety and Social phobia


The symptoms of  social anxiety (social phobia) are similar to those of panic disorder. Anxiety, shaking, dizziness, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations may ensue when a person with this disorder finds him/herself at the centre of attention or in the company of many people. 


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder tend to avoid experiencing anxiety by resorting to repetitive actions or behaviours that prevent their anxiety from occurring. For example, a person who is obsessed about neatness may experience anxiety at the mere sight of a vase placed slightly off-centre. To prevent anxiety, he or she will clean and organize everything compulsively or without reason. 



Disorders are often treated using methods designed to target symptoms and techniques to learn coping mechanisms for the anxiety triggers. Knowing which method to use in the treatment largely depends on the kind of disorder a person has. If you experience a high degree of anxiety or panic speak to your healthcare professional to help you resolve the disorder.