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Understanding Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders

Understanding Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders

By: Stan Popovich

Fear is part of human nature. The body’s built-in “fight or flight” response to threats can protect us from harm. For those with anxiety disorders, however, even the most mundane things can feel like a threat, triggering an out-of-proportion fear response that negatively affects their lives. With the help of professional guidance, anxiety books, and other tools, however, a person can learn to manage and overcome their fears.

Symptoms Of Anxiety

Common symptoms of anxiety include the following:

  • Persistent nervousness and worry that crowds out other thoughts
  • Notable physical symptoms like shakiness, sweating, increased heart rate, or rapid breathing
  • Restlessness (having trouble sitting still, shaking your leg, etc.)
  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • A nagging sense that something bad is about to happen
  • Avoiding situations that make you anxious, even at the cost of relationships and opportunities

Types Of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety can manifest in a variety of forms for a variety of reasons, both genetic and environmental. Over decades of study, psychologists have identified numerous distinct types of anxiety disorders. The following are just a few examples of known disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is defined by persistent general worry and anxiety about various things in life. The anxiety is out of proportion to the situations, and it can seem to others that someone is worrying for no reason. However, the reason for the worry is very real to the sufferer and difficult to control; they can’t just “let it go.”

Generalized anxiety affects a person on a daily basis and can make even ordinary tasks difficult and exhausting to handle. It is often concurrent with other diagnoses, such as depression or other anxiety disorders.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety involves intense fear and avoidance of social situations. A person with this disorder may avoid various social interactions and events because they are afraid that they will be judged, laughed at, or disliked by other people.

Most people can understand being nervous to give a speech or meet new people, but the self-consciousness of social anxiety affects a person’s ability to live a healthy, productive life. Even seemingly small tasks like making a phone call can be so terrifying that they will avoid it at all costs and may panic if forced to do so.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

This disorder is unique from others in that it is primarily seen during childhood. For children with separation anxiety, being separated from parents, guardians, or other parent-like figures leads to excessive fear and distress. While it is normal for a child to be somewhat upset when they are separated from caregivers, children with this disorder show anxiety beyond what is considered healthy for their developmental level.

Though it is not as common as childhood separation anxiety, adults may also be diagnosed with this disorder if they show extreme distress when separated from a certain person or pet. Adult separation anxiety behavior can appear controlling—needing to know where a spouse is at all times, constantly checking in—but, at its core, it is about uncontrollable fear.

Panic Disorder

Unlike other anxiety disorders that involve a constant level of fear or worry throughout the day, panic disorder is marked by episodes of fast-spiking anxiety known as panic attacks. A person can reach the peak of panic within minutes after being triggered, experiencing symptoms of extreme terror, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and more.

A person with a panic disorder may develop a fear of situations in which they may experience a panic attack. As they begin to avoid more and more potentially triggering situations, it can severely limit their ability to function and lead healthy lives.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) involves a cycle of obsessive thoughts that sufferers attempt to satisfy with compulsive behaviors. Thoughts vary, but common fears include contamination by germs, losing control, being harmed, or seeing loved ones harmed. In an attempt to quiet the thoughts, a person will perform compulsive actions, such as washing their hands five times in a row or checking a locked door several times.

Someone without OCD may double-check things, but they are usually able to move on quickly. A person with OCD may spend an entire day washing and re-washing dishes because the thoughts will not stop. Compulsing is often the only way they know to temporarily calm their minds.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops after a person has experienced or seen a traumatic event. The terror is so powerful that it causes the person to have persistent anxiety, nightmares, and vivid flashbacks that can seem very real. It’s normal for people to struggle temporarily after trauma, but a person with PTSD will continue to have daily symptoms for months or years.

PTSD is well-known for its incidence among military veterans, but it can be caused by any experience that is sufficiently terrifying to a person. Examples include things like abuse, assault, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks.


Agoraphobia is a unique anxiety disorder that involves an extreme fear of any situation from which the person worries there might not be a clear escape. The idea of leaving home, being in a crowd of people, or entering an enclosed space can create intense anxiety as they begin to worry that they will be trapped or embarrassed. If possible, they will avoid the situation or take a companion with them for comfort.

Most people have times where they are temporarily hesitant to go out or be seen by others—like a teenager afraid to let anyone see her first pimple. A person with agoraphobia, however, experiences persistent, out-of-proportion fear and avoidant behaviors for six months or more. In severe cases, a person may avoid leaving the house entirely.

Other Specific Phobias

A person with a specific phobia experiences an intense, uncontrollable fear of a certain type of object, person, or situation. Unlike a standard fear or dislike of something, a phobia seriously affects a person’s day-to-day function and can cause extreme anxiety even in seemingly safe situations.

Someone with a typical fear of spiders may scream when they see one, but they are otherwise able to lead a normal life. A person with a phobia of spiders, on the other hand, might avoid unfamiliar places and situations due to the overwhelming fear that they may encounter a spider.

Start Overcoming Anxiety Immediately With Real, Commonsense Advice

If you struggle with fear, you’ve probably already heard plenty of well-intended-but-disappointing advice from loved ones and typical anxiety self-help books. In A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear, author Stanley Popovich has pulled from his own personal experiences with anxiety to compile over 100 practical, effective tips into one invaluable toolkit.

Here’s what you can expect by reading Stan’s managing fear book:

  • Tried-and-true tips from 20 years of real-world experience
  • An easy, straightforward read that’s less than 100 pages long
  • Non-resistant methods you can apply right away for fast relief
  • A professionally reviewed body of knowledge that has been lauded by experts, readers, and media outlets alike
  • Faith-based advice for those seeking Christian books on anxiety
  • Valuable help for individuals who do not have access to or cannot afford professional counseling


A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear is one of the best books for anxiety sufferers who want practical advice they can apply to their lives immediately. Order your copy today!

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