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The feeling of anxiety is a normal occurrence in life, perhaps before taking an exam or waiting to hear back test results from the doctor; however, anxiety that is consistently present and continues to worsen over time is known as an anxiety disorder. The symptoms can interfere in daily activities such as during work, school, or in personal relationships. 

Understanding the types of anxiety disorders is important for knowing how it should be treated. 

Types of Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Characterized by consistent worry and ongoing tension that involve job or family responsibilities, health, finances, or minor matters such as appointments. This type of anxiety may cause symptoms such as:

  • Restlessness

  • Feeling on edge

  • Muscle tension

  • Difficulty sleeping

Panic Disorder

The main symptom of panic disorder is recurrent panic attacks that involve physical and psychological distress. This type of anxiety may cause the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart or rapid heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Feeling of shortness of breath or smothering sensations

  • Chest pain

  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint

  • Feeling of choking

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Chills or hot flashes

  • Nausea or abdominal pains

  • Feeling detached

  • Fear of losing control

  • Fear of dying

Due to the severity of such symptoms, it may cause someone to think they are having a heart attack or another life-threatening illness, requiring them to go to the hospital emergency room. 

Phobia-related Disorders

This type of anxiety is focused on specific and excessive fears about objects, situations, or activities which the person experiencing it feels they cannot overcome. Some examples include fear of heights or spiders.

Social Anxiety Disorder

This type of disorder is characterized by a person who experiences anxiety in social interactions, in which they fear being humiliated, embarrassed, or looked down upon by other people. Someone experiencing social anxiety will generally avoid such interactions. Common examples include the extreme fear of public speaking, not wanting to eat or drink in public, and meeting new people. 

Separation Anxiety Disorder

A person with separation anxiety disorder fears being separated from someone they are significantly attached to. They may feel reluctant to sleep away or be apart from whomever they are attached to for long periods of time. Symptoms generally begin during childhood and can continue on throughout adulthood. 

Anxiety: What We Do
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