Having, Coping, and Overcoming Anxiety


Types of Anxiety

There are seven types of anxiety disorders:

1.      Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

a.      GAD is characterized as excessive anxiety and worry about events and activities that occurs over a period of at least 6 months. Symptoms include fatigue and lack of concentration.


2.      Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder

a.      This disorder is characterized as extreme fear or avoidance of social situations.  People with this disorder are afraid of being embarrassed or humiliated. They do not want to be singled out or made the center of attention. They find it difficult to participate in conversations, parties, meetings and public speaking.


3.      Specific Phobias

a.      This disorder is characterized by fears of a specific type (ie. Flying, heights, etc.)


4.      Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

a.      Individuals who experience PTSD have usually been in situations where they are in danger of physical harm or who have experienced physical, emotional or mental abuse.


5.      Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

a.      Individuals who struggle with OCD usually use repetitive actions in an attempt to counteract their stress or anxiety (ie. Turning a light on and off a certain number of times before they can leave a room.) Sometimes they feel that if they don’t perform this ritual, something bad will happen.


6.      Panic Disorder

a.      This disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks. Sometimes the thought of having a panic attack will create enough stress to actually trigger a panic attack. This fear can lead to an avoidance of anything which may trigger an attack. Some symptoms of a panic attack include:

                                                              i.      Increased heart rate

                                                             ii.      Sweating

                                                           iii.      Trembling

                                                           iv.      Shortness of breath or a feeling of being smothered

                                                             v.      Feeling like you’re choking

                                                           vi.      Chest pain or pressure

                                                         vii.      Nausea or stomach pain

                                                       viii.      Dizziness, light-headed or fainting

                                                           ix.      Fear of losing control

                                                             x.      Fear of dying

                                                           xi.      Chills or hot flashes

                                                         xii.      Feeling like pins and needles


7.      Agoraphobia

a.      This disorder is a fear of being in places or situations where you would not be able to escape and/or where a panic attack would be embarrassing.

Symptoms that are common to all anxiety disorders include3:

            Feeling nervous or tense

            Feeling a sense of impending doom or a feeling of danger

            Experiencing an rapid heartbeat


            Sweating, trembling, feeling weak

            Trouble sleeping

            Experiencing stomach upset

            Worrying uncontrollably

            Avoiding things that could trigger a panic attack

            Thinking constantly about you’re worried about


There can sometimes be a medical reason for anxiety. Some disorders have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, thyroid issues, asthma, drug use or withdrawal, alcohol or medication withdrawal, and chronic pain. It can also be a side effect of some medications.