What Are the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety is a common and natural reaction to stressful situations. It can be helpful as it can make us aware of potential risks and help us to stay focused and alert. Anxiety disorders are more serious than just feeling nervous or anxious. 

They involve excessive fear or worry and can affect up to 30 percent of adults at some point in their life. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available that can help people with anxiety disorders lead a normal life.

With that in mind, here are the various types of anxiety disorders and how they differ:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

An ongoing pattern of apprehensive concern and uneasiness marks generalized anxiety disorder. People with this condition may be preoccupied with dread and worry and find it difficult to shake off these anxious thoughts. Physical symptoms, such as fatigue, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and muscle tension, can accompany psychological distress. These worries may revolve around common issues like work, health, or mundane tasks and can cause significant interference in daily life.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme fear and anxiety in social situations. People with this disorder often feel extremely uncomfortable in situations where others may judge or observe. They may worry excessively about embarrassing themselves, being rejected, or being humiliated, leading them to try to avoid these situations whenever possible. The anxiety and fear can be so intense that it interferes with everyday activities and last several months.

Panic Disorder

People with panic disorder experience recurrent, unexpected episodes of extreme fear and anxiety that cause intense physical and psychological distress. These panic attacks usually last a few minutes, though they can last for hours. During a panic attack, a person may experience a wide range of physical symptoms, including palpitations, rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, and fear of losing control or dying. 

Though these symptoms can be frightening, they are not life-threatening. Panic disorder most commonly develops in young adults and typically begins with a single panic attack. It can occur alongside other mental health issues like depression and PTSD.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

A person suffering from a separation anxiety disorder is intensely fearful or anxious when away from those they have strong emotional connections. This fear goes beyond what is expected for the person’s age and can last for a minimum of four weeks in children and six months in adults. As a result, it can interfere with daily activities. 

They may be constantly worried about losing the person closest to them, resist going out or sleeping away from their home or the person, and have nightmares about separation. Physical signs of distress can be present from childhood but can continue into adulthood.


A specific phobia is an irrational fear of a specific object, situation, or activity that is out of proportion to the actual danger it poses. People suffering from this fear will go to great lengths to avoid what they fear, even if it means their life is disrupted. Examples of specific phobias include fear of public speaking, fear of flying, and fear of spiders.


Anxiety disorders can have a debilitating effect on people’s lives. It is important to be aware of the different types of anxiety disorders, as this can help to identify the condition and provide appropriate treatment. Each type of anxiety disorder has unique symptoms, causes, and treatments. It is important to seek professional help if someone is experiencing any anxiety disorder, as early intervention and treatment can help to reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those suffering from anxiety.

Sierra Meadows Behavioral Health is Fresno’s premier provider of adult mental health counseling and therapy programs. Our programs are run by experienced therapists that treat anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions through individual, group, and family counseling. We are a caring and empowering environment to help overcome mental health conditions, with a focus on holistic well-being. If you need mental health services in Fresno, CA, we can help! Get in touch with us today!