Anxiety disorders are a type of mental health condition that can cause significant distress and can affect a person’s life in many different ways. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that about 40 million adults in the United States suffer from an anxiety disorder in any given year. There are six main types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive and persistent worrying and anxiousness about a variety of life events and situations. It can also be accompanied by physical symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and muscle tension. People with GAD often feel like they are always on edge and may have difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
Panic Disorder is characterized by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are intense periods of fear or feelings of doom that come on suddenly and last for several minutes. During a panic attack, people may experience physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, and trembling. Panic Disorder can cause significant disruption in a person’s life and can interfere with their ability to carry out daily activities.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by an intense fear of social situations. People with this disorder may feel like they are being judged or scrutinized by others and may fear that they will do something embarrassing or that they will be rejected. This fear can lead to avoidance of social situations and can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning.
Specific phobias are intense fears of specific objects or situations. Common phobias include fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of animals, fear of needles, and fear of public speaking. People with phobias may experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and sweating when exposed to the feared object or situation. Phobias can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent and persistent thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that cause distress and impairment in daily functioning. People with OCD may have intrusive thoughts that they feel compelled to act on, such as washing their hands or checking the locks multiple times. OCD can cause significant disruption in a person’s life and can interfere with their ability to carry out daily activities.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event, and hyperarousal (feeling on edge). PTSD can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning.
The six types of anxiety disorders are Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Each type of anxiety disorder can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek professional help.