Types of Anxiety
We are focusing on all things anxiety: Stay tuned as we look at types, causes, symptoms and ways of treating anxiety within this series. Anxiety impacts many individuals, meaning you may know someone who has become anxious or suffered from this disorder at some point. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders, affecting one in four Australians at some stage in their life. Anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks at work, home or school. People with anxiety disorders often feel compelled to avoid stressful situations and in extreme cases avoid going out altogether. Anxiety disorders can be caused by either one or a combination of factors. These include genetic factors, ongoing stress, family background, physical health issues or a traumatic event.
There are various types of anxiety:
Generalised anxiety disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder is excessive, uncontrollable worry about a range of ordinary situations like health, work or finances.
Social phobia or social anxiety disorder
Social phobia or social anxiety disorder causes people to avoid social or performance situations for fear of being embarrassed or rejected.
Panic disorder is associated with regular panic attacks, which are sudden intense episodes of irrational fear, shortness of breath, dizziness and other physical symptoms.
Agoraphobia is often associated with panic disorder, and involves avoiding certain situations due to fear of having a panic attack.
Specific phobias are irrational fears that only apply to one particular situation, such as a fear of animals, insects, places or people (for example claustrophobia is a specific fear of enclosed or confined spaces).
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) involves unwanted thoughts and impulses (obsessions), causing repetitive, routine behaviours (compulsions) as a way of coping with anxiety.
Post traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when feelings of fear or avoidance do not fade after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic life event. It involves upsetting memories, flashbacks, nightmares and difficulties sleeping.