What are The Types of Anxiety Disorders?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 
Q: Our family doctor said that I have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He also said I may tie with Phobia which also a type of Anxiety Disorders. Can anybody tell me various types of Anxiety Disorders?
Expert Answer

Abbreviated as GAD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most widespread type anxiety affecting millions around the world. With GAD, one experiences a continuous state of mental and physical tension or nervousness without an absolute source. The feelings of constant worry, fear, apprehension or stress you may experience most often could suggest you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other symptoms include:

  • Restlessness, increased irritability or feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Lack of energy, fatigue or lethargy
  • Being obsessed with negative or destructive thoughts
  • Difficulties in concentration and loss of focus at work or studies
  • Muscular tension mostly on the back, neck or shoulders

Anxiety Attacks (Panic Disorder)

Anxiety Disorders

Panic disorder is a serious form of anxiety disorder usually accompanied by feelings of trouble affecting both physical and mental health of an individual. In severe cases, one may become hospitalized from the fear that he/she has a major health concern. Panic attacks and fear of getting panic attacks are common characteristics of anxiety disorder a patient may experience for a long period. Symptoms of panic disorder revolve around emotional and psychological triggers which may include the following:

  • Increased heartbeat and palpitations
  • Too much sweating
  • Digestion complications and discomforts
  • Faintness or lightheadedness
  • Breathlessness or feeling as if you are having a deep breath
  • Pains in stomach and/or chest

Anxiety attack usually rises to the peak in about 10 minutes from when it gradually disappears within hours depending with individuals. Other unusual symptoms may occur during a panic disorder such as headache or ear pressure among others.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a very distractive anxiety disorder with patients exhibiting behaviors and fears which confuse individuals around them. Obsessions associated with OCD are based on thoughts with specific objects that are negative or dreadful. Such people seem unmoved however hard they try. Compulsions in OCD are based on one’s behaviors that become a necessity in order to function normally or in a particular way, and people can’t stop from performing them. It is common to have compulsions without obsessions or vice versa but in most cases, both conditions are present at the same time.

Phobia

Phobia refers to intense feelings of fear for specific objects, scenes, conditions, etc. Most phobias trigger the thoughts of immense dangers or threats and tendency of avoidance behavioral changes in an attempt to dodge them. Although phobia can be regarded as an anxiety disorder, they in most cases go without treatment. There are people who spend their life time with a particular phobia and deem it unnecessary to seek professional assistance. However, if a phobia becomes disturbing in life, it is good to seek treatment. Some common effects of phobia include:

  • Constant and exaggerated fear of a particular object or event
  • Instant terrific feeling at the sight of your phobic trigger or object
  • Loss of control over your fears even though aware they can’t harm
  • You restrict yourself from doing things that can spark your fears
  • Applying too much effort to avoid fears from your phobia

Some people express similar reactions at the mention or thought of objects they have phobia for. This is common in severe cases and may cause stress or anxiety which may hinder them from going about with their duties at work or home.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) also known as social phobia is an irrational fear from participating in social events. Small social phobias are normal such as shyness, fear of addressing a congregation or dancing in public and do not necessarily mean one has anxiety problems. It is when such fears become disruptive in your life that you may be suffering from social anxiety disorder. If you are unable to interact freely with people at work, you can’t address public or you are in total uneasiness, you could be having social phobia. You live with feelings that the public is monitoring you in a judgmental manner. You are also afraid of making blunders which might attract the attention of those around. If you have SAD, these conditions are very common:

  • Uneasiness with strangers
  • Obsession of been overlooked
  • Extreme fear of public speaking
  • Anxiousness about social events
  • Difficulties in making new friends
  • Difficulties in coping with anxiety in social gatherings

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a kind of emotional and physical anxiety resulting from a traumatic experience. We are all exposed to a number of risks at home, traveling, at work etc in daily life. If you get involved in an accident and survive, chances are that without counseling, the memories will last to haunt you at one point in your life. PTSD can occur even from just witnessing a holocaust or an accident or on learning your spouse or a close friend has dealt with a traumatic situation. Symptoms may include:

  • Mentally and physically reliving the trauma where it looks as if it is currently happening
  • Reacting to triggers related to that particular event e.g. if you survived a bomb blast, you might respond equally to a gunshot
  • Apprehension of a traumatic recurrence
  • Pessimism about the future with emotional difficulties

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Author

Expert Author : Joan Raynor (Consumer Health Digest)

Joan Raynor is a health researcher and expert writer specializing in mental health issues where she provides hope and support to persons with treatment-resistant depression and other chronic mood disorders.