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What are the 6 Types of Anxiety Disorders?​

Psychology Today, a mental health and behavioural science website, lists the 6 types of anxiety disorders. These are Phobias, Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety, and Hypochondria. Symptoms and causes vary and certain risk factors may contribute. Management methods may help but it’s best to seek advice from a psychologist who may recommend treatments and refer you to government resources. Further insights are found below to help you learn more about anxiety disorders.

What are the 6 Types of Anxiety Disorders?​

Following are the main categories of anxiety disorders that all relate to a sense of fear.

Anxiety disorders include several categories all linked to fear.

Phobias

Phobias are fears of specific objects or situations which have the following general categories.

  • fears related to animals (spiders, dogs, insects)
  • fears related to the natural environment (heights, thunder, darkness)
  • fears related to blood, injury, or medical issues (injections, broken bones, falls)
  • fears related to specific situations (flying, riding an elevator, driving)
  • other (fear of choking, loud noises, drowning)

People with the above phobias suffer from significant stress when they encounter such situations.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

It is a fear of a wide range of topics such as school, finances, world events, and others that are hard to control and keep occurring. People with GAD worry often, find it difficult to concentrate and are likely to suffer from headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension, and irritability.

Panic Disorder

It causes someone to have panic attacks out of the blue or when they are triggered by something. The attacks combine different senses such as a racing heart, rapid breathing, chest pain, dizziness, sweating, shaking, and blurred vision.

What is the Difference Between a Panic Attack vs Anxiety Disorder?

Healthline, a medical network of healthcare professionals, explains on its website the difference between the two. Panic attacks are sudden that involve intense and overwhelming fear while an anxiety disorder is a response to certain stressors which may build up gradually.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Its other term is social phobia which causes a person to feel an intense discomfort when interacting with other people and be scared about being judged.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

It’s a feeling of extreme worry about being separated or losing someone and what may happen after such an incident. 

Hypochondria

This is a former term for two separate conditions that involve fear about health. One is Illness Anxiety Disorder which causes people to feel anxious and obsessed about their health. The other one is Somatic Symptom and Related Disorder which have the same fear but have actual physical symptoms of a certain illness.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety Disorders Facts is found on Healthdirect, Australia’s national virtual public health information service. It states that each type has its specific signs but the general symptoms of anxiety disorders are the following.

  • Difficulty managing fears and worries
  • Feeling overwhelmed with anxious thoughts
  • Feeling apprehensive or powerless
  • Feeling that something bad will happen
  • Feeling like you are in danger
  • Your mind is racing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems

Physical symptoms may also occur such as shortness of breath, dizziness, pounding heart, sweating, problems sleeping, trembling, and others.

"Anxiety Disorders Facts on Healthdirect, Australia's national health service, outline specific signs for each type, but general symptoms include..."

What are the Causes of Anxiety Disorders?

There is no known specific reason for anxiety disorders but the following items may be contributing factors.

  • Family history
  • Presence of another mental health disorder
  • Ongoing stressful situations
  • Abuse
  • Life-threatening situations
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Physical health issues
  • Use of a substance
  • Withdrawal from alcohol or smoking
  • Certain personality type

The cause may involve one or more of the above factors.

What are the Management Strategies for Anxiety Disorders?

Ensuring you maintain a healthy lifestyle may help manage anxiety attacks.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Minimising caffeine intake
  • Limiting alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
  • Following the Australian Dietary Guidelines
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Taking time for yourself
  • Learning and using techniques for relaxation, distraction, and controlled breathing

Additional recommendations are found in mental health and well-being support organisations. It’s also best to seek advice from a healthcare professional.

When to Seek Professional Help for an Anxiety Disorder?

Book an appointment with a doctor or a mental healthcare professional once an anxiety disorder affects your daily life. A medical professional may help in the management and finding ways to reduce the effects of a disorder on your life.

What Treatments Are Available for Anxiety Disorders?

While there may be no first aid available for anxiety disorders, the following treatments may help over time.

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Psychological therapy
  • Medicines

A doctor may also recommend the usage of government services for mental health support.

No quick fix for anxiety, but long-term treatments like therapy can be effective.

What Government Services are Available for Anxiety Disorders?

Visit the website of the government agency Head to Health to find more information about the following services for different anxiety disorders.

  • Free call on 1800 595 212 for mental health guidance and advice
  • Visit a Head to Health mental health centre to talk to someone about your anxiety disorder
  • Visit a Head to Health Pop Up Clinic for additional mental health support

The Head to Health’s website also provides information on the non-profit organisations that provide digital resources and additional support for mental health.

Conclusion

The 6 types of anxiety disorders are Phobias, Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety, and Hypochondria. Each has its specific symptoms but general signs may include difficulty in managing fears, mind racing, memory problems, and others. There is no specific cause but there are contributing factors including family history, ongoing stressful situations, and abuse. Fortunately, management strategies, treatments, government support, and digital resources from non-profit organisations are available. So, don’t be scared to see a doctor as it is safe to discuss it and there are ways to reduce the impacts.

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