5 Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness. Anxiety disorders involve both physical and emotional symptoms characterized by excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety is the most common mental disorder among adults and highly treatable. If you feel you may be living with one of the anxiety disorders below, consider exploring anxiety treatment today.

In this article, we’re exploring the 5 types of anxiety disorders so you have a better idea of what you might be experiencing.

5 Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety can appear in many forms, making it hard to identify. Agitation, excessive worry, feeling tired, inability to sleep, restlessness, and panic are all different reactions, yet all are related to anxiety. This confuses many who associate agitation with anger, or restlessness with boredom, and so on.

Anxiety can affect every person differently. There are over 40 million people in America struggling with some form of anxiety. That’s millions of different combinations of anxiety-related signs and symptoms.

Fortunately, experts have created a way to simplify an understanding of anxiety. They have categorized symptoms and labeled them as a specific type. To date, there are five types of anxiety disorders.

Here are 5 types of anxiety disorders.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

According to reports, 6.8 million adults have a generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. With this type of anxiety disorder, you tend to worry more than most people. For example, it is common to worry occasionally about finances, health, or other ordinary problems. For most people, those worries come and go as the issues come and go.

However, if you have a generalized anxiety disorder, you worry about these things much of the time, even when there is no need to worry. You tend to focus on the worst-case scenarios, preventing you from enjoying yourself.

GAD’s common symptoms can include restlessness, irritability, easily startled, fatigued, tension in your muscles, and trouble concentrating. You feel stressed out and may even experience brief memory lapses, like not remembering why you entered a room or where you left your car keys.

While everyone experiences those moments from time to time, those with GAD may have them more often.

2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

When most people think of OCD, they picture someone washing their hands excessively. While this can be one symptom, there are many others to consider. The reason? Because both obsessions and compulsions can be associated with anything, and they directly interfere with a person’s ability to function daily.

Obsessions are the thoughts you have in your mind. For someone with OCD, thoughts can focus on things they consider harmful. Examples include germs, contamination, thoughts of harming themselves or someone else, thoughts of loved ones getting hurt, and even thoughts of keeping things in order.

Obsessions create a great deal of anxiety.

Obsessions make a person feel that if they complete certain behaviors in a specific manner, then the obsessive thoughts will not come true. Thus, they feel required to give in to their compulsions or behaviors that will ease their anxiety.

Compulsions often include excessive cleaning, handwashing, ordering of items, repetitive behaviors, and counting. Some people struggle with one or two compulsions, while others have more. OCD is a cycle of thoughts that lead to behaviors, both of which are anxiety-based.

3. Panic Disorder

Sudden, intense fear, sometimes for no reason at all, is a sign of panic disorder. Some people are triggered to have a panic attack, like seeing a spider when they fear spiders. Others have panic attacks for no apparent reason.

Over time, the fear of having a panic attack, in private or public, becomes overwhelming and can hinder daily functioning.

Symptoms of panic disorder include increased heart rate or palpitations, warm flush feeling, shallow breathing or hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, extreme dread, and feeling as if you may be dying. The feeling of being out of control or unable to control body responses is scary and causes a lot of strife for those with panic disorder.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Everyone will likely go through at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Examples of traumatic events include natural disasters, physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and war combat. Each person assesses tragic events differently.

For some, the death of a loved one or divorce can feel traumatizing. For others, these may seem like just a part of life. No matter what the cause of the PTSD, the symptoms can be overwhelming and debilitating.

Examples include flashbacks, nightmares, and frightening thoughts related to the trauma. Other signs are avoiding the people, places, or things associated with the trauma. Someone may even avoid talking or thinking about it.

Being on edge, easily startled, quick to temper, distorted feelings of guilt or blame, and suppressing memories about the event can also appear.

5. Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is sometimes called social phobia, referring to a fear of being in a social situation. This is not to be confused with an anti-social disorder, which has more to do with not following the laws and rules of society.

Social anxiety disorder is an overwhelming fear of having to perform in social situations. Performance can mean anything from mingling to giving speeches to performing concerts. If it is done in public, and you feel anxiety over it, it can become a social phobia.

Some common signs of social phobia that happen when in public include sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hyperventilating, feeling dread, feeling like you want to escape, and having “mind blanks.”

Common Symptom of All Types

Negative self-talk is a symptom among all types of anxiety disorder sufferers because you feel like you should be able to overcome your worrying behaviors all by yourself. You compare yourself to others who don’t seem to have anxiety problems. You allow yourself to believe statements that are not true.

What is true, however, is that you don’t have to experience symptoms of any anxiety disorder.

With the help of a mental health center professional, you can find out what type of anxiety disorder you have and then start working to overcome it. Experts are available who can teach you specific steps to help you recognize anxious thinking, change it, and, therefore, change your reactions.

Through methods like cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapies, trauma-focused therapies, and medication assistance, as needed, you can get back to living without anxiety. You can start learning more about the types of anxiety disorders today by reaching out online or by phone. Call us today! We can help!