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The Different Anxiety Disorders Explained

The Different Anxiety Disorders Explained

Anxiety is a normal emotion people feel when they are worried, nervous or stressed. Everyone feels anxious about specific situations or an imminent event, however, for the lucky ones, the anxious feelings come and then go. For individuals who are living in constant fear and anxiousness, this is a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. For example, this mental illness affects over 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. As a result, living with anxiety can be a debilitating condition that may lead individuals to live a life of fear and emotional distress.

There are several different anxiety disorders which include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. Below, we will take a more in-depth look into each of these different anxiety disorders, and learn the symptoms and treatment options.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition in which a person experiences excessive and uncontrollable worry about everyday activities. People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder have constant fear and worries that interfere with daily activities such as work, school, social interactions, and personal relationships.

Some of the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
  • Being irritable
  • Having muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

Panic Disorder

A panic disorder is an anxiety condition characterized by unpredictable, sudden episodes of intense fear. These attacks are called “panic” because they are often marked with feelings of terror and overwhelming apprehension. This type of anxiety disorder prevents those suffering from going about day-to-day tasks.

People who suffer from this disorder may also experience symptoms like:

  • 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

Specific Phobias

Specific phobias are fears of particular things or social situations. From an outsider looking in, these fears seem out of proportion and irrational. However, the intense fear felt by the individual is debilitating. Those suffering feel like the only way to cope with their fears is by avoiding these certain objects or situations.

Some examples of specific types of phobias include:

  • Animals or insects, such as spiders, dogs, or snakes
  • Blood
  • Flying
  • Heights
  • Injections (shots)


Agoraphobia is the fear of being in public places where it’s difficult to escape or get help if needed. These situations can also include being outside of the home alone or even being in a crowd.  In severe cases, the fear becomes so pronounced that it influences a person’s ability to go outside or function in society. Thus, leaving you feeling trapped and housebound.

 People with agoraphobia have an intense fear of two or more of the following situations:

  • Using public transportation
  • Being in open spaces
  • Being in enclosed places
  • Standing in line or being in a crowd
  • Being outside the home alone

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder, otherwise known as social phobia, is an extreme fear of being watched or judged by others. It can also include feeling self-conscious in front of others and being rejected. This type of anxiety disorder causes those suffering to have a panic attack before entering a situation where they are around people.

Those suffering from social anxiety disorder try everything in their power to avoid social situations. This caused issues for a normal daily routine because the fear of being seen and judged by others prevents you from going into work, school, stores, or any place with groups of people.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition where an individual is constantly worried about being away from people they are close with. Many assume this is a condition only seen in children, however, adults can experience this disorder as well. This disorder causes the individual to live in constant fear that harm will come to their loved ones if they are apart.  This can be magnified with irrational thoughts of their loved one dying.

Those suffering from separation anxiety disorder may also experience some of the following effects:

  • Having difficulty concentrating at work or school
  • Becoming excessively clingy towards close friends and family members
  • Panic attacks when separated from loved ones for brief periods of time  
  • Becoming upset when unable to contact loved ones
  • Excessive worrying about losing or harming loved ones when apart

Are You Experiencing Any of These Different Anxiety Disorders?

Many of us have experienced some sort of anxiety about certain situations or circumstances, however, it normally goes away shortly after. If you are living in constant fear or distress and feel like you may be suffering from one of the different anxiety disorders, help is only one call away.

At Harm Reduction Center we know that anxiety disorders are mental health disorders. There are treatments as well as therapy options that can help you take your life back. Taking the first step is scary, however, living life anxiety-free is well worth the risk. Contact the Harm Reduction Center today!