4 Types of Anxiety and Their Warning Signs

Feb 01, 2023

misc image

Feeling anxious from time to time is a normal part of life. After all, it’s a normal response to stressful, difficult, or dangerous circumstances. So how do you know if it’s a sign of a disorder? Keep reading to learn more.

Most people experience anxiety regularly as a normal response to certain situations like work deadlines or the unknown outcome of a test. Generally speaking, this reaction can offer numerous benefits at certain times, helping to alert us to potential danger so we can prepare and pay attention. However, when feelings of anxiety become excessive or persistent, they can interfere with everyday life.

Approximately 30% of adults have an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives, making them the most common of mental health disorders. But the anxiety one person has may be completely different from another since there are numerous types of anxiety disorders with specific signs and symptoms.

Our compassionate team at Associates in Behavioral Science in Berwyn, Illinois, knows there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for anxiety. However, we have the experience you need to diagnose your disorder and provide the tools you need to manage your symptoms.

Here are four common types of anxiety and the symptoms they often trigger.

1. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

As the name implies, this form of anxiety disorder describes persistent general feelings of anxiety, tension, and worry, even with little or no cause. More simply put, you can often have worries that don’t match your circumstance. 

When living with general anxiety disorder, it’s common to also have physical symptoms, like difficulty with concentration, the inability to sleep, or feeling restless or on edge. Many people with GAD also live with other anxiety disorders or depression at the same time.

2. Specific phobias

Unlike GAD, this type of anxiety disorder arises from a specific situation, activity, or object. You might understand that your response is excessive, but you can’t overcome it on your own. 

Examples of specific phobias include fear of flying, spiders, social situations, or public speaking. When you have this anxiety disorder, it can cause so much distress you go to extreme lengths to avoid whatever it is you fear.

Estimates show that 8-12% of American adults have a specific phobia anxiety disorder.

3. Panic disorder

If you’ve ever experienced a feeling of sudden, intense panic, you could have a panic disorder.

This type of anxiety disorder often resembles a heart attack with symptoms that can include: 

  • Feelings of choking
  • Pounding heart (palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating 

Panic attacks can start suddenly and unexpectedly or because of a specific trigger. They can be so strong and upsetting that you avoid situations that could trigger an attack. It’s also common to spend a lot of time worrying about the next episode.

4. Separation anxiety

As you might suspect, this anxiety disorder involves separation from someone you’re attached to. Though some behavior is understandable, if the anxiety persists for at least four weeks in children, six months for adults, or causes functioning problems, it could be signs of an issue.

Behaviors associated with separation anxiety might include:

  • Refusal or reluctance to go out or sleep away from the person
  • Nightmares about separation
  • Persistent worry of losing the person

In many cases, separation anxiety develops in childhood, but it can persist into adulthood.

Living with anxiety disorders

These are just four types of anxiety disorders. The secret to managing your condition involves an accurate diagnosis and personalized strategies.

Our team can help identify the type and severity of your anxiety disorder by discussing your symptoms and completing a psychological evaluation. In the process, we can also determine if you have other mental health conditions that often occur with anxiety, like depression.

General signs of an anxiety disorder include:

  • Fear or dread
  • Irritability
  • Agitation or nervousness
  • Stomachaches or nausea
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Racing or pounding heart

After reaching a diagnosis, we can help you get your symptoms under control and learn strategies for managing your condition in the days to come.

Do you need help with anxiety? Contact Associates in Behavioral Health by calling 708-627-2710 or requesting an appointment online today.