Listed below are six common types of anxiety disorders, each with their own distinct symptom profile:
generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder (anxiety attacks),
phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorderIf constant worries and fears distract you from your day-to-day
activities, or you’re troubled by a persistent feeling that something bad is going to happen, you may
be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD are chronic worrywarts who
feel anxious nearly all of the time, though they may not even know why. Anxiety related to GAD
often shows up as physical symptoms like insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, and fatigue.
Anxiety Attacks (Panic Disorder)
Anxiety attacks (Panic disorder)A panic disorder is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic
attacks, as well as fear of experiencing another episode. A panic disorder may also be accompanied
by agoraphobia, which is the fear of being in places where escape or help would be difficult in the
event of a panic attack. If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as
shopping malls, or confined spaces such as an airplane.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted thoughts or behaviors that seem
impossible to stop or control. If you have OCD, you may be troubled by obsessions, such as a
recurring worry that you forgot to turn off the oven or that you might hurt someone. You may also
suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over and over.
A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality
presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals (such as snakes and spiders),
fear of flying, and fear of heights. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to
avoid the thing you fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
Social Anxiety Disorder
If you have a debilitating fear of being seen negatively by others and humiliated in public, you may
have social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. Social anxiety disorder can be thought of
as extreme shyness. In severe cases, social situations are avoided altogether. Performance anxiety
(better known as stage fright) is the most common type of social phobia.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extreme anxiety disorder that can occur in the aftermath
of a traumatic or life-threatening event. PTSD can be thought of as a panic attack that rarely, if ever,
lets up. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares about what happened, hypervigilance,
startling easily, withdrawing from others, and avoiding situations that remind you of the event.