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What Are The Types Of Anxiety Disorders?

What Are The Types Of Anxiety Disorders?

When we hear people say they have “anxiety” we generalize their specific experience of anxiety. Though there is generalized anxiety disorder, there are also a number of other disorders which fall under the category of an anxiety disorder. Since these disorders share a grouping, they do have similarities. Typically anxiety disorders include the same physical as well as mental symptoms. For example, anxiety disorders commonly create tension and stress by tightening muscles and speeding up the heart rate. Anxiety plays on the body and mind’s fight or flight system by hyperactivating the sympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released, putting the body on edge. Overtime, chronic anxiety can lead to heart complications, back problems, and the many other physical effects of chronic stress.

Anxiety disorders are some of the most commonly experienced mental disorders among adults in the United States. Professionals who experience an anxiety disorder are at risk for also experiencing a substance use disorder as a co-occurring issue.


  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Each person will experience generalized anxiety disorder a little differently from the next. Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder vary as they uniquely manifest per individual. True to the name, however, these symptoms are general; meaning, an individual experiences anxiety generally in their life, not specifically as may be the case with social anxiety disorder.
  • Social Anxiety: Social anxiety is felt by most people when they get a flutter in their stomach or a surge of stress before giving a presentation or performing in public. For professionals with social anxiety, however, that nervousness is taken to a new level. Social anxiety can result in have nonstop thoughts about how others will perceive you, how they will judge you, and possibly expose you for being anxious. At the worst, social anxiety can cause intense isolation, out of fear of the thoughts and feelings associated with social anxiety.
  • Phobias: Phobias are more than the average fear of the dark or spiders. Professionals who live with phobias live with disruptive, intrusive, often irrational fears of seemingly innocuous things. When a phobia is extreme, the fear is not occurring when a fear is encountered. Life is lived out of fear of the possibility that the fear may be encountered.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is a complex, layered mental disorder deeply entwined with anxiety. Professionals who experience trauma experience a profound shock to their nervous system, permanently altering the way their body and brain experience anxiety.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: OCD is not widely known as an anxiety disorder. The intrusive, disturbing thoughts and resulting compulsive behaviors are anxiety-based, operating on a fear of worst-case scenarios.
  • Panic Disorder: Panic attacks and panic disorders are also based in anxiety. While someone who lives with anxiety may experience anxiety attacks, someone who lives in constant panic is going to experience panic attacks, which can be deeply distressing.


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