What Are the 6 Types of Anxiety Disorders?

What Are the 6 Types of Anxiety Disorders?

It’s sobering to hear that close to one-third of Americans will deal with an anxiety disorder at some point. Understanding the different types of anxiety disorders is crucial for promoting mental wellness. It allows people to recognize and seek appropriate help for their specific challenges. So, what are the 6 types of anxiety disorders? Read on to unpack these mental health concerns.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder is often abbreviated as GAD. It’s characterized by excessive and persistent worry or anxiety about everyday life events and situations. People with GAD tend to fret about various things, including the following:

  • Work
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Finances

People worry even when there’s no apparent reason for concern. These worries can be overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning.

Coping with GAD can be tricky since it’s such a pervasive mental health concern. You don’t need to give up on your wellness, though. Some coping strategies for GAD include relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation.

Seeking support through therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can also be quite effective in managing GAD.

2. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Social anxiety disorder is commonly known as SAD or social phobia. People with SAD deal with an intense fear of social situations. Individuals with SAD often worry excessively about being judged or embarrassed in public settings.

This anxiety can make it challenging for them to engage in social activities, including the following:

  • Work meetings
  • Parties
  • Simple conversations

The anxiety can get triggered by being out in public all the time. Some people only get triggered in certain social situations.

What’s an anxiety treatment that makes coping with SAD easier? Behavioral therapies, such as exposure therapy and group therapy, can help. People can work on confronting their social fears in small doses.

They can even build their confidence in social situations. Medications are also an option, but they’re often reserved for more severe cases.

3. Panic Disorder

Another one of the most common types of anxiety is panic disorder. This issue is characterized by panic attacks that can recur and come on fast. These events are intense periods of fear or discomfort that reach their peak within minutes.

People who experience a panic attack may feel the following symptoms:

  • A racing heart
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • A feeling of impending doom

Many people who struggle with panic disorder spend their days anxious about being overcome by another attack.

How do people with panic disorder improve their quality of life? Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a wonderful solution for panic disorder.

Medications can also do a great job of lowering the frequency and severity of panic attacks. Learning relaxation techniques and practicing them often can also be beneficial.

4. Specific Phobias

Specific phobias are intense, irrational fears of specific objects or situations. Common examples include fear of flying, heights, spiders, or needles. When confronted with a phobic stimulus, individuals may experience extreme anxiety and go to great lengths to avoid it.

Phobias can take over, even when people know that they’re safe. A person with arachnophobia might not be able to look at a picture of a spider without panicking.

Is it possible to cope with specific phobias? One type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is exposure therapy. This is an incredible way to treat specific phobias.

This therapy involves exposing individuals to their phobia in a controlled and safe manner. Medications may not be necessary for most cases of specific phobias.

5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often abbreviated as OCD. This mental wellness issue is characterized by intrusive and distressing thoughts (obsessions). It also includes repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) performed to alleviate the anxiety caused by the obsessions.

OCD is powerful enough to impact a person’s everyday schedule. Compulsions can pull people away from the present because they’re so fixated on trying to soothe their anxiety.

Coping with OCD is difficult, but the uplifting news is that you can overcome it. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) tends to be the first-line treatment for OCD. These sessions should have an emphasis on exposure and response prevention.

Medications for OCD are also often prescribed in conjunction with therapy to help manage OCD symptoms.

6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can come on after a person has gone through a traumatic event. We all have different levels of resiliency. This means that the same traumatic event may not cause two different people to develop PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD can include the following:

  • Flashbacks
  • Emotional numbness or distress
  • Nightmares
  • Severe anxiety

People with PTSD may avoid situations or reminders that trigger their traumatic memories. But this isn’t productive in the long run.

Coping with PTSD takes some work instead of avoidance. Trauma-focused therapies are effective in treating PTSD. Two options are Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Medications, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, can also be used to manage symptoms. Support groups and a strong support system are valuable for those dealing with PTSD.

Coping with Anxiety and Anxiety Treatment

Now that we’ve explored the six primary types of anxiety disorders, it’s important to discuss strategies for coping with anxiety. Here are some of the available anxiety treatment options:

Seek Professional Help

Do you suspect you may have an anxiety disorder or are struggling with anxiety symptoms? You need to get in touch with a mental health professional. They can help you get to the bottom of your anxiety and come up with a personalized mental wellness plan.


Additionally, therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is a highly effective treatment for many anxiety disorders. These therapy sessions can help individuals understand their thought patterns, manage their fears, and develop healthier coping strategies.


Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and mood stabilizers are often used to manage anxiety disorders. That being said, it’s best to try other anxiety interventions first.

Support Systems

Building a strong support system can be instrumental in coping with anxiety. Share your feelings with loved ones who can nurture you.

What Are the 6 Types of Anxiety Disorders? Now You Know

What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders? Walking through this guide should give you a better idea of what mental health concerns you could be dealing with.

Do you want to conquer your anxiety? Contact Modern Era Counseling to get professional help.

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