Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is something that a lot of people all around the world have to contend with on a daily basis. What you might not realize, is that there are several varieties of this anxiety that can affect people.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders that people can suffer from. While some people will deal with only one type of anxiety, there are others who will experience the symptoms and effects of multiple types of anxiety at one time. Each type of anxiety is typically treated in a specific manner. To determine which treatment methods would be most effective for you, you must first understand what type or types of anxiety that you are suffering from.

Types of Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety Attacks

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Phobia
  • Panic Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Phobias
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Understanding these different types can help you pinpoint the kind of treatment or stress relief that you might need in order to correct the problem. With that being said here are some of commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders, and a little bit about each one of them.


Panic disorders are diagnosed when a patient is having panic attacks on a regular basis. When these events are deemed random and unpredictable, this disorder is almost always to blame. This is different from individuals having panic attacks that are related to a specific uncomfortable event or circumstance, or at the very least occurring when there are clearly visible triggers.

Panic anxiety disorder is a psychological disorder characterized by the spontaneous occurrence of frequent panic attacks. People going through this difficult condition will suddenly have feelings of terror that seems to come out of nowhere. These attacks can occur anytime, whenever, many times over.

Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is the condition where you feel a strong, overpowering fear in social situations. Although it is natural to have some form of public speaking fear or to become self-conscious and shy, extreme shyness even when the situation doesn’t call for it may turn problematic.

Perhaps one of the harder realities for those that are dealing with panic disorders is the unpredictability of their occurrences. Those with the condition could go a very long time without an attack, and then have several within a few days. Without understanding the root of the problem, the fear of having another attack becomes another anxiety that the sufferer is inevitably going to carry around with them. In many cases, the fear of having another panic attack can often become an additional trigger to the condition, fueling more attacks as a result.


The more research that is done regarding phobias, the more common of an occurrence they are becoming. While there are varying degrees of this condition, the base explanation remains the same. Phobias are an intense (and often irrational) fear of something, a certain action, or even an idea. While these phobias are broad in and among themselves, having one doesn’t always necessitate the need for medical attention. Many people lead very normal lives working around phobias that they have.

When phobias become detrimental for living a normal life is when medical personnel might be best suited to get involved. As one person might be able to go their entire lives having a debilitating fear of spiders or snakes without much incident, another person who is afraid of stepping outside of his front door at his home might have a harder time leading a full life. A good way to gauge whether or not your own fears (even phobias) are detrimental to your life is by breaking it down into 3 parts and seeing if any of them apply to what is happening.

  • Has this fear been constantly with you for several months?
  • Does it stop you from doing things you used to do or want to do?
  • Is the fear greatly exaggerated to any actual danger?

If any of these were answered yes, you might want to encourage someone to seek some professional assistance in overcoming the phobia.

Specific Phobias – A phobia is medically defined an irrational fear of situations that are actually harmless. While it is normal to be scared of spiders, an uncontrollable reaction against them is not. Phobias can range from mild fear to tremendous terror that can affect one’s daily life. All phobias leave you suffering from extreme fear that can lead to more serious physical effects such as anxiety attacks.


There are people who have an overwhelming fear or ever-present anxiety that they simply cannot identify. While those who have phobias (mentioned above) are fearful and anxious about specific things or circumstances, those that suffer from GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorders are unable to pinpoint any causes. This can be a rather difficult thing to narrow down into a more specific category of anxiety conditions, which makes it among the more commonly diagnosed of all the listed conditions here.

Generalized anxiety disorders, commonly known as GAD, is a common chronic disorder characterized by excessive, irrational and uncontrollable worry about certain events or activities in daily life. This condition affects 3 to 5% of the population, and is considered to be the most common psychological anxiety disorder that affects older adults.

Perhaps further elaboration is advisable. This is one of the broader disorders, and it acts as a sort of catchall for those that are experiencing anxiety without being able to properly identify a source. What this generally means is that many people are going to be diagnosed with this disorder (even before they might end up in another category listed here). It also means that the symptoms associated with this condition could end up being very different from one person to the next.

Generalized anxiety disorders, commonly known as GAD, is a common chronic disorder characterized by excessive, irrational and uncontrollable worry about certain events or activities in daily life. This condition affects 3 to 5% of the population, and is considered to be the most common psychological anxiety disorder that affects older adults.


Another anxiety disorder that is becoming more and more commonly diagnosed is OCD (Obsessive-Complusive Disorder). Much like phobias, there is a line that people need to cross to require intervention from a trained professional to remedy the condition. Obsessive compulsive anxiety disorder, is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by repeated, uncontrollable compulsions, thoughts and/or obsessions that can hamper with one’s ability to function well.

Many people have ritualistic behavior that might be borderline OCD, but also might just be improperly considered to be. Basically this condition is one of two parts, obsession and compulsion.

Obsessions are best described as urges, worries, or unwelcome thoughts that plague the mind. Compulsions are the counterpart to the mental obsession, which are a physical action to placate and alleviate the obsession in one’s mind. A good example of this might be an obsession that someone is going to break into your home, followed by the compulsion to lock and unlock your door until you are convinced that it is actually locked.


This is an anxiety disorder that doctors and researchers are still trying to learn more about. While this condition has existed seemingly forever, it was not labeled or given the kind of attention that it has been given in the past couple of decades. While it is commonly a diagnosis of anxiety ridden soldiers returning from warzones, PTSD could affect anyone at any time.

A thorough PTSD definition can help you understand the type of anxiety known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What is PTSD? It is an anxiety disorder that develops after a person experiences or is exposed to a terrifying traumatic event. It is most often associated with soldiers returning home from combat, but also is found in rescue workers and people who have been in other traumatic situations, such as earthquakes or violent criminal acts. More…

The trigger to this condition is an isolated traumatic experience or a barrage of traumatic circumstances. As much as a soldier could be a sufferer of PTSD, a child who watched his parents killed in a mugging gone wrong could equally be a sufferer. It is about how the brain processes the information it has experienced and whether that develops into fear and anxiety associated with the trauma.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the term given to a type of PTSD that takes place in people who have been under prolonged, repeated traumatic stress for months or years. Examples of people who are likely to suffer with complex PTSD are children in abusive homes, those enslaved in brothels, those in concentration camps or POW camps, and people who’ve experiences long term domestic violence.

What are the secrets to overcoming performance anxiety? This type of anxiety occurs when you need to do something but are afraid you cannot perform well. You can feel performance anxiety in regard to giving public speeches, taking tests, pleasing the boss at work, or even about pleasing your marriage partner in the bedroom.

Now that you understand some of the various disorders that are common for those experiencing anxiety, you might have a better idea of what you or someone you care about might be dealing with. The treatment and alleviation of the stress and anxiety associated with these various conditions will vary, so it is important to narrow down the roots of the problem at hand. Developing a treatment program rests specifically on understanding the underlying cause of the problem being experienced.

Once you have determined what type or types of anxiety that you believe you are suffering from, you should immediately make an appointment with a physician in order to properly be diagnosed.

Remember, you don’t have to live with anxiety! There are effective treatment methods available for all types of anxiety disorders, even the most severe.