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Types of Anxiety Disorders

Mind & Mood 28 Mar, 2024
By Donal Reilly

Anxiety is a common human experience, varying in intensity and impact from person to person. While some may encounter fleeting moments of anxiety in response to specific situations like exams or public speaking, others contend with persistent anxiety that significantly disrupts their daily lives. It's essential to recognise that anxiety manifests in various forms, each with its distinct characteristics and challenges.

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) stands as the most prevalent type of anxiety disorder. It manifests as chronic anxiety, characterised by excessive worry and tension persisting for six months or more. Physical symptoms such as insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, restlessness, and fatigue often accompany GAD, making it a multifaceted challenge to overcome.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, entails an overwhelming fear of negative judgment and public humiliation. Individuals with this condition may find social situations intensely distressing, including public speaking or meeting new people. In severe cases, they might avoid such scenarios altogether, significantly impacting their social and professional lives.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is marked by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks coupled with the fear of experiencing subsequent episodes. This fear often leads individuals to avoid places or situations where panic attacks are likely to occur or where escape may be challenging, potentially exacerbating the condition and leading to agoraphobia.


Agoraphobia involves an intense fear of situations or environments perceived as unsafe, leading individuals to avoid places where they may feel trapped, embarrassed, or panicked. This avoidance behaviour can severely limit one's ability to engage in daily activities, further amplifying feelings of anxiety and isolation.

Specific Phobias

Specific Phobias are irrational fears of particular objects, activities, or situations that pose minimal or no actual danger. Common examples include fear of animals, flying, or heights. Individuals with severe phobias may go to great lengths to avoid encountering their triggers, impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) arises following exposure to a traumatic event, affecting individuals both psychologically and physically. Symptoms may include intrusive memories or flashbacks, hypervigilance, social withdrawal, and avoidance of trauma-related triggers, necessitating comprehensive therapeutic intervention and support.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) presents with intrusive thoughts or compulsive behaviours that individuals find challenging to control. Persistent obsessions, such as fears of harm or contamination, may trigger compulsions like excessive handwashing or checking rituals, significantly impacting daily functioning and mental well-being.

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