Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of anxiety?

There are several different types of anxiety. They include:

  • Social anxiety: People with an intense fear of social or performative situations may have social anxiety disorder. They think that their actions or behaviors will be “wrong” in the eyes of family, friends, colleagues, and/or peers. This may lead them to avoid social scenarios.
  • Generalized anxiety (GAD): When you have GAD you show excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about personal health, your job, social interactions, and/or everyday routine situations.
  • Panic disorder: People with panic disorder have recurrent, unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear. These attacks come on fast and peak within minutes. Attacks can occur unexpectedly or can be brought on by a trigger, such as a feared object or situation.
  • Specific phobia: A phobia is when fear or anxiety is circumscribed to the presence of a particular situation or object. Most people in this category have more than one specific phobia, and the fear can lead to persistent avoidant behaviors that may impact their quality of life. 
  • Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is understood as fear or anxiety about using public transportation, being in open spaces, being in enclosed spaces, crowds, and/or being away from home.  Most often, a person will avoid the situations that provoke the anxiety, fearing that they will have an embarrassing event or be unable to escape the situation.  Activities of daily living can potentially be very impacted by this avoidance.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD can develop in people who’ve lived through a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. PTSD causes people to feel stressed or frightened, even when they are not in danger.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): People with OCD have uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that they feel the urge to repeat over and over. OCD is usually diagnosed when these thoughts and behaviors occur over a long-lasting period of time.
  • Separation anxiety: Infants and toddlers often go through a stage of separation anxiety. This can happen when they’re leaving their parents to spend time with other family members or caregivers. It’s a normal stage of development. Most children outgrow separation anxiety by about 3 years of age.
  • Substance/Medication-induced anxiety: Significant anxiety symptoms can be a result of both the use of a substance or medication, or withdrawal from a substance or medication. A medical professional is important to understand and diagnose any medication or substance use related anxiety and respond accordingly.

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