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The Different Types of Anxiety

Anxiety comes in several different forms. If you suffer from anxiety you may know that you are anxious, but lack the discernment to know what type of anxiety you have. Treatment of anxiety involves first diagnosing your anxiety type, and then treating it specifically.

Here is a list of various clinical anxiety disorders:  


  • Panic Disorder- A Panic Disorder sufferer will have intense episodes of panic that come on suddenly often without apparent cause or warning. The individual may experience a racing heartbeat, sweating, shaking, chest pain, shortness of breath, and a variety of other panic symptoms.

  • Agoraphobia- Primarily understood as a fear of open spaces, it is often more related to a fear of having a panic attack in a location that would be difficult escape from for relief. Commonly the fears are brought on by crowded places such as grocery stores, subways, airplanes, or other similar locations.

  • Social Phobia- This anxiety disorder involves an intense fear of social situations. It can involve any situation in which embarrassment or humiliation is feared.

  • Specific Phobia- This phobia typically brings about avoidance of specific things or situations. The thing or situation is stagnant in that it doesn’t tend to change. For example, someone may have an intense fear of dogs but not fear other small animals.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder- This type of anxiety is much less specific than other types of anxiety. Often the individual feels a chronic sense of anxiety over life circumstances that are stressful, such as finances. The symptoms are ongoing and last for 6 months or longer.

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder- While tidiness is often an admirable trait; individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder take it to an extreme. They will become preoccupied by obsessive thoughts that lead to obsessive actions. An example would be someone who cleans the kitchen sink 5 – 10 times during each day. If the person were prevented from following through on their task, obsessive thoughts about the ritual of sink washing would then cause debilitating anxiety.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder- Disabling symptoms often develop for a person who experiences a traumatic event. A variety of acute anxiety symptoms surface surrounding memories of the event. Veterans of war, rape victims, and victims of severe catastrophic events can suffer from this disorder.

  • Acute Stress Disorder- This disorder is similar to Post Traumatic Stress although the symptoms subside within a month of the event.

  • Anxiety Disorder due to a General Medical Condition- There are a large number of medical disorders that can cause anxiety symptoms. Some examples are hyper- and hypothyroidism, a vitamin B-12 deficiency, or encephalitis. It is good medical practice to test for thyroid conditions when addressing anxiety symptoms.

  • Substance–Induced Anxiety Disorder- A number of ingestible substances can trigger anxiety. Some common stimulants such as caffeine, ginseng, decongestants, or diet pills can trigger symptoms of anxiety. On of the first questions that should be asked when addressing anxiety is what substances are being used and when did the symptoms begin?

In order to treat your anxiety with impact and efficacy you must first define which type you are affected by. Once you are aware of your specific set of symptoms you can begin to treat the anxiety disorder. Any of the above listed anxiety disorders can range in severity from mild to severe.


In upcoming blog posts I will discuss individual anxiety disorders under a closer lens and discuss methods for combating and treating the anxiety. Stay tuned for more.


Blessings, Gretchen




by Gretchen Flores