The types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and phobias. Some of these conditions may seem very similar to one another, but each comes with its own symptoms, signs, and stressors.
Generalized anxiety disorder involves periods of nervousness and restlessness, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, forgetfulness, aches and pains, and difficulty concentrating. The person goes through long periods of anxiety and worry. He or she cannot control these emotions.
Another type anxiety disorder is panic disorder. It is characterized by repeated and surprise panic attacks and the anxiety over possible upcoming panic attacks. This worry causes changes in a person’s lifestyle and behavior. A panic attack is a period of intense fear that suddenly develops and lasts for around ten to twenty minutes. Possible symptoms include tremors, sweating, shortness of breath, abdominal discomfort, chest pain, fear of losing control or dying, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, a sense of choking, dizziness, feeling of depersonalization, chills, numbness, or nausea.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by intense obsessions and compulsions that cannot be controlled by the person. This results in overwhelming anxiety and frustration in the individual. The high levels of anxiety are sometimes kept under control by repetitive actions, like washing hands multiple times in a row.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves the recurrence of a traumatic experience in the memory of a person. This causes intense anxiety and distress. Further, this type of anxiety disorder may cause hallucinatory episodes.
Social anxiety disorder is rather common in society today. It is often linked to depression. It involves persistent fear in performance or social situations. The person with this type of anxiety is afraid of exposure to strangers and possible scrutiny. When placed in such situations, the person may have panic attacks. As a result, the person avoids such situations.
Separation anxiety disorder affects children and young adolescents up to 18 years of age. A child with this condition experiences persistent and intense anxiety that is the result of actual or impending separation from a parent, caretaker, or close family member. Intense fear, distress, worry, headaches, and stomachaches characterize this disorder.
Specific phobias are anxiety disorders that are characterized by a persistent and intense fear toward a particular trigger. Exposure to the trigger may get so overwhelming that the person with the phobia may have panic attacks.
All of these types of anxiety disorders affect a person’s life both socially and professionally. The changes in lifestyle may be quite drastic and severe when it comes to the different types of anxiety disorders. Thus, these conditions may be quite isolating and depressing. A person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, for instance, may be late to work each day because he or she feels the compulsion to check repeatedly if the door of the house has been locked. Further, a person with social anxiety disorder may refrain from seeing friends due to the intense feeling of anxiety involved in stepping outside of a comfort zone.