Types of anxiety disorders

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. For example, you may feel anxious or worried about your job interview, before taking a test or before making an important decision. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. However for a person with anxiety disorder, it’s more than just a temporary fear or worry, they feel like that most of the time and these worries are intense, persistent and interfere with their normal lives.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects over 3 percent of the U.S. population. People with GAD will typically worry excessively and chronically, meaning there will always be fear in the back of their minds for months and even years. Having this chronic worrying is mentally exhausting, which often means people with the disorder will feel fatigued and drained, have difficulty concentrating, experience muscle tension, or be unable to sleep well. Fortunately, it can be treated with medication like anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder refers to a condition in which sudden, debilitating attacks of fear or panic impair a person’s daily life. During a panic attack, a person will experience intense physical symptoms including hyperventilation, increased pulse, dizziness or lightheadedness, tingling limbs, chest pain, or abdominal pain. Such physical symptoms can often be scary, since they share qualities with symptoms of heart attacks or strokes, and typically exacerbate the panic attack. Fortunately, like GAD, panic disorder can be treated with medication and psychotherapy.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD may be one of the most poorly understood mental disorders out there: It’s easy to stereotype people with OCD as being excessively clean or orderly. In fact, many myths about OCD can be debunked by science.

There are two pillars of OCD: obsessions, which are thoughts or images that repeat in the person’s mind, and compulsions. The person will feel out of control and find the thoughts disturbing, and experience accompanying feelings of fear or worry. These obsessions can involve fears of contamination, unwanted sexual thoughts, religious fears of offending God or morality, or being worried they will harm someone they care about.

Compulsions involve the actions and “rituals” that follow the obsessive thought. Ritualistic steps often make the person feel like they have more control over their thought by allowing them to “cancel” it out. OCD can be complicated to treat, but there are cognitive behavioral therapies that help people face their fears and overcome their obsessions and compulsions, such as Exposure and Response Prevention.


Surprisingly, phobias affect nearly 9 percent of the population, mainly women. Phobias involve the overwhelming fear of an object, organism, or situation that is objectively harmless. Phobias like the fear of open spaces, close spaces, snakes, and elevators, among others, can be damaging to a person’s daily life and relationships. Getting help can include being prescribed beta blockers, antidepressants, or sedatives as well as participating in cognitive behavioral therapy or desensitization or exposure therapy.

Social Anxiety Disorder

It’s one thing to be shy or an introvert, but in extreme cases, a person may suffer from a social anxiety disorder — the fear of being judged or scrutinized in social situations. This can prevent sufferers from socializing, going to work, or even leaving their homes. Conquering social anxiety disorder might involve exposure therapy to overcome the feelings of nervous “stage fright,” as well as anti-anxiety meds.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a normal stage of development. Children to sometimes feel worried or upset when faced with routine separations from their parents faced with routine separations. Though it’s natural for your young child to feel anxious when it can be unsettling. However understanding what your child is going through and using some coping strategies, separation anxiety can be relieved.

Babies will naturally get upset over being taken away from their parents some kids, however, experience separation anxiety that doesn’t go away, even with a parent’s best efforts.

Children with separation anxiety can be very clingy, a child may try to follow the parent to keep her or him in sight, Avoid to participate in new activities or going places without a parent, or require someone to be with them when they go to another room in their house.