Types Of Anxiety Disorders

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Types Of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a word often heard and often misunderstood. It is something that we experience when something that is unexpected, unpleasant, uncomfortable, or unpredictable is about to happen. The uncertainty of an outcome, or simply the idea of something happening or not happening, can affect us so much that our bodies and minds react through visible and palpable symptoms.

Anxiety can affect a person so strongly that he or she feels like they are danger of something harmful happening. It causes several uncomfortable symptoms, like:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Sweating
  • Stomachaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is something everyone experiences, but there are people who chronically experience symptoms. When anxiety affects a person severely and chronically, it is considered an anxiety disorder.

Many people with anxiety disorders do not even know what they are experiencing is anxiety. Sometimes they even believe that it is a typical reaction that everyone experiences, which is not always the case.

Everyone will experience anxiety at one point in his or her life. To be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder implies that the anxiety that is experienced is:

  • Chronic
  • Debilitating
  • Has a major negative impact on the quality of life of the affected person.

Types of Anxiety

There are many different types of anxiety disorders that a person may suffer from, like:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD causes a person to experience chronic anxiety. Severity can vary, but for people with GAD it is a part of the person’s natural thought patterns and lifestyle.

GAD will cause a person to overthink and over-analyze relatively innocuous events. It will also cause strong and unpleasant reactions to anything that is out of the norm or comfort zone.

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). With OCD, the affected person will perform rituals to reduce anxiety. The anxiety is caused by obsessive and recurring thoughts. People with OCD will repeat rituals in effort to ease the symptoms that are triggered by the obsessive thoughts.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is experienced by people who have witnessed or lived through a traumatic event. Anyone can suffer from PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event, but the most commonly known example is OCD in war veterans.

People with PTSD experience flashbacks that cause major distress. Flashbacks cause affected people to react dangerously, or violently, or against their natural personality.

  • Panic Disorder. Panic disorder is a disorder in which a person experiences frequent and recurrent panic attacks. These panic attacks may or may not be triggered by real life situations or challenges.
  • Specific Phobias. Phobias are the extreme and irrational fear of something non-threatening.
  • Social Phobia. Social phobia specifically refers to a person experiencing extreme discomfort when around other people. Social phobia is often associated with low confidence and poor self-esteem.

Regardless of the specific type of disorder, anxiety has a major impact on the life of an affected person, and how he or she views themselves and the world.

Anxiety is uncomfortable. It is tough to live with anxiety on a daily basis. To overcome your own anxiety, you must first develop an understanding of how it affects you. From there, you can learn the techniques and coping skills needed to manage your anxiety and develop a healthy lifestyle for yourself.


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