5 Types of Anxiety Disorders: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

What are the five types of anxiety disorders? Understanding this condition could help improve mental health. Continue reading to learn more.

Table of Contents

What Is Anxiety?

According to the American Psychology Association (APA), anxiety is characterized by feelings, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.
Types of Anxiety Disorders

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What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

People with anxiety disorder respond to certain things and situations with dread and fear. These feelings of anxiety interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, and can last longer than normal. Some characteristics of anxiety disorders include constant mood swings, nervousness, and panic attacks.

How Common Are Anxiety Disorders?

Nearly 30% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point. In addition, women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorder than men. Meanwhile, children frequently experience anxiety and worry, mainly when they are about to begin nursery or school.
These are some of the common anxiety symptoms you should look out for in your child:
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • sleeping disorder (constant waking up at night due to nightmares)
  • Not eating properly
  • Quick to anger or irritable and out of control during outbursts
  • Constantly worrying or having negative thoughts
  • Being clingy
  • Always crying

5 Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are various types of anxiety disorders. However, we will be discussing the 5 major types of anxiety disorders here: 1

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD includes worrying excessively about everyday routine or activity. However, the worry is usually out of proportion compared to the actual event. This type of anxiety disorder is difficult to manage and affects how you feel physically.

Panic Disorder

This involves recurring episodes of abrupt, extreme worry, fear, or terror that reach a peak in minutes (panic attacks). You might experience anxiety symptoms like dread, breathlessness, chest pain, rapid, fluttering, or pounding heart (heart palpitations).


Phobias are characterized by intense anxiety and a strong urge to avoid something when exposed to it. Phobias are usually the cause of anxiety disorder in some people. 2

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is characterized by recurring, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive activities (compulsions). However, it is found to be traced to the brain’s structure and requires a unique treatment.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety disorder is excessive anxiety during the child’s developmental stage. It is connected to being separated from parents or other adults who play parental duties.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Each type of anxiety disorder has different symptoms. However, there are some signs and anxiety symptoms that people should take note of. These symptoms could be physical, mental, or behavioral.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Some common physical symptoms of anxiety disorders include: 3
  • Cold or sweaty hands
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath

Mental Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Some of these symptoms could lead to an acute anxiety disorder. They include:
  • Feeling panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Nightmares
  • Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts

Behavioral Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

These are some of the behavioral symptoms of anxiety disorder to look out for: 4
  • Inability to be still and calm
  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as washing hands repeatedly
  • Trouble sleeping

Behavioral Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Life experiences such as traumatic events appear to trigger anxiety disorders in people already prone to anxiety. Some of the causes/reasons for anxiety disorder are:
  • Brain chemistry: Severe or long-lasting stress induces chemical imbalance, causing anxiety. 
  • Experiences: experiencing trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
  • Family history: anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both families.
  • Genetic factors: it is believed that some people have genes that increase their risk of anxiety disorder.
  • Medical conditions: some medical conditions cause psychological anxiety disorder.
  • Personality: feelings of anxiety can stem from the person’s personality trait.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed?

Speak with your healthcare professional if you experience any symptoms of an anxiety problem. Your doctor may perform some tests to rule out physical conditions that could cause your symptoms.

Who Can Diagnose Anxiety Disorders?

Your doctor might suggest you see a psychiatrist or psychologist if they discover no outward symptoms of a physical illness. These mental health specialists focus on identifying and treating mental diseases.

Is There A Difference Between Feeling Anxious And Anxiety?

Anxiety is an umbrella term that covers other mental health disorders. It is reasonable to say that most of us will feel anxious at some point in our lives, whether before a crucial exam, a job interview, or when we first meet someone. But that does not equate the feeling of anxiousness to anxiety.

Is Anxiety Related To Depression?

Despite being two different conditions, depression and anxiety frequently coexist. As a result, they receive similar medical care as well.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

Anxiety disorders psychology is like any other health problem that requires treatment. Anxiety disorder psychology treatment cannot be wished away. Your healthcare practitioner will create a treatment strategy that is right for you. Your strategy can include both anxiety disorder therapy and medicine.
Types of Anxiety Disorders

How Does Medication Treat Anxiety Disorders?

Medication can help you feel better and perform better. But they do not serve as an anxiety disorder cure. Drugs used for anxiety disorders treatment include:

  • Anti-anxiety medications: medications such as benzodiazepines may help you feel less anxious, nervous, and worried. They work effectively but can build up a tolerance for them. As a result, they gradually become less efficient. 
  • Antidepressants: medications like antidepressants may take some time to work, so be patient; if you ever feel like stopping this medication, you should talk to your provider first.
  • Beta-blockers: these can help reduce some of the symptoms of major anxiety disorders. They can relieve rapid heartbeat, shaking, and trembling.

How Does Psychotherapy Treat Anxiety Disorders?

A mental health professional will explain techniques to help you comprehend and manage the disorder better. Anxiety disorder treatment includes:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):  CBT for anxiety disorder therapy teaches you to identify thoughts and actions that result in unsettling emotions. 
  • Exposure therapy: It enables you to interact with things or circumstances you might have been avoiding. Your doctor may also recommend relaxation techniques, guided imagery, and exposure therapy.

Can Anxiety Disorder Be Prevented?

There is no way to stop major anxiety disorders without proper treatment. However, here are steps you can take to manage or lessen your symptoms:
  • Check out medications: Consult your doctor or pharmacist before using over-the-counter drugs or herbal remedies. 
  • Limit caffeine: Stop or reduce your caffeine intake, which includes cola, coffee, tea, and chocolate.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle: Eating a nutritious, balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise can prevent anxiety disorder.
  • Seek help: If you have recently gone through a traumatic or upsetting event, seek counseling and support.

Get Help To Overcome Anxiety Disorders at Profound Treatment

Profound treatment offers a safe, comfortable, healing environment for you to begin the process of recovery. With our mental health expert, we can provide you with a solution to living a healthy and happy life. Reach out to us today and get the support you need.

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