Identifying the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders and Their Symptoms

There are many different types of anxiety disorders and they all exhibit different characteristics and symptoms. These differential characteristics and symptoms are what are identified in order to propose clinical diagnoses to individuals living with these disorders. So, being able to identify the symptoms and characteristics of different anxiety disorder types is important for individuals who are potentially living with high levels of anxiety.

So, what are the different types of anxiety disorders and their identifying symptoms?

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and What Are the Symptoms?

This type of anxiety disorder is the most commonly diagnosed. It’s estimated that almost 7 million US citizens are living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The most characterizing symptoms of this type of anxiety disorder is a constant and overwhelming experience of anxiety. Furthermore, people diagnosed with this anxiety may experience levels of stress that are disproportionate to the experience that brings stress about. To receive a diagnosis, an individual must struggle with high levels of constant anxiety for at least a length of 6 months. Anxiety experienced from people living with GAD can surround a number of things including relationships, work, school, death, finances, health, family, and more. The overwhelming anxiety that comes with this disorder can be debilitating as it can end up affecting relationships, work performance, and other parts of daily life.

Some of the recognizable signs and symptoms of GAD can include:

  • feeling restless
  • uncontrollable sweating
  • inability to sleep
  • mood swings
  • feelings of worry (panic, fear, and impending doom)
  • uncontrollable shaking and/or twitching
  • muscle aches
  • trouble focusing
  • memory issues

What is Panic Disorder and What are the Symptoms?

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by experiencing panic attacks and the fear of future panic attacks. Panic attacks are instances of severe anxiety and fear that present a number of debilitating, physical symptoms. Many people who have experienced a panic attack have compared the experience to having a heart attack. For someone who has never experienced a panic attack, having one is scary and some may even think that they’re deadly. The horrifying experience of having a panic attack can lead to the development of panic disorder in which individuals are so frightened of having panic attacks that they actually have more. Panic attacks can come as the result of high stress levels or even out of the blue. They are completely uncontrollable, but people who experience them may go out of their way to prevent them by using avoidance behaviors.

Some of the signs and symptoms of panic disorder can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • pain of the chest
  • stomach pain
  • shaking
  • feeling uneasy or lightheaded
  • intense fear
  • sweating

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and What Are the Symptoms?

This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by two things: obsessive thoughts/emotions and compulsive behaviors. People with OCD struggle with intrusive thoughts or emotions that they can’t control that bring about mass amounts of anxiety. These thoughts can be about sex, religion, self-image, and more. Compulsive behaviors are used by people with OCD in an attempt to manage or reduce intrusive thoughts and/or emotions. Some examples of compulsive behaviors can include hand washing, counting objects, extreme organization, hoarding, tapping, checking door locks, and more.

Getting Help for Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Along with GAD, Panic Disorder, and OCD, there are more types of anxiety disorders. Every type of anxiety disorder is characterized by high levels of anxiety. Fortunately, there is help available for people who are living with anxiety disorders. For example, the outpatient treatment available at Psychiatrist Boca Raton. Learn more about our treatments available for anxiety disorders from our website and reach out to us to speak with a mental health specialist.

Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez

Dr. Raul Rodriguez


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