10 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Anxiety is a common human emotion, and everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. Some people experience it during their childhood, some during adulthood or their college life. Most people feel anxious during their married life, which requires some changes, causing them to feel stressed. In short, every person goes through it at some stage of their life, but the difference is that some anxieties are normal and go away on their own, while some anxieties are severe. Such anxieties leave many dangerous impacts on people, such as feelings of loneliness, loss of concentration, changes in sleep patterns, and many more. And also, these do not recover without any treatment. 

We can characterise Anxiety disorders by excessive worry or fear rather than usual sensations of uncomfortableness. Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological illnesses affecting about one-third of the world’s population at some stages in their lives. But there is no need to agitate because all anxiety illnesses are curable, and various therapies are available for their cure. A continuous feeling of fearfulness, high alertness, stomach upsets, changes in appetite, heart palpitations, dizziness, and sweating is the most known symptoms of anxiety. There are also many types of anxiety disorders, and psychologists have divided them into various categories. By knowing the exact type of anxiety you are suffering from, you can find a suitable treatment. 

If you think that anxiety is just a feeling of fear or stress, you should think again. According to psychical health experts, it is more complicated than that. There are various types of anxiety-related disorders with some annoying symptoms in common. These types include:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias 
  • Social phobia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Agoraphobia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Separation anxiety disorder

It is also possible to feel that you are suffering from more than one anxiety disorder. But remember that you should not try to diagnose yourself because only a mental health expert can diagnose you with a psychological health problem. 

As the name represents itself, this type of anxiety disorder involves constant feelings of uneasiness, worry, or dread. These feelings do not seem to be connected with anything; specifically, that’s why it is called “generalised”. Generalised anxiety disorder happens when someone feels worried continuously about various topics like the job or school performance, natural disasters, world events, relationships, loss of someone close, and many others. These worries are difficult to control and continue raising with time. These worries also affect people’s ability to do different activities, turning towards emptiness in their lives. 

Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder usually last for six months. Some of the common symptoms of GAD include:

  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Muscle tension
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Stomach problems like diarrhoea
  • Fatigue and exhaustion 

Panic disorder is another type of anxiety in which people get sudden and intense panic attacks. These attacks include abrupt waves of extreme fear that can make the patient feel like he will die. Though these attacks last only for a few minutes, they leave various mental and physical effects on the sufferer’s health. Panic attacks usually reach their peak within fifteen minutes. An important note is that people can experience panic attacks without having panic disorder. People with panic disorder avoid situations, such as going to the malls, theatres, or driving, resulting in panic attacks among them. Among all anxiety disorders, panic attacks are the ones that result in the appearance of most physical symptoms. 

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without any warning. They can appear at any time_when you are going somewhere, or during sleep, or in the middle of an interview. Panic attacks have many variations, but symptoms get over within a few minutes. The panic disorder includes these signs and symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps 
  • Headache
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Tingling sensation or numbness
  • Detachment or feeling of unreality
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness
  • Tightness in your throat

One of the saddest things about panic attacks is the fear of having another panic attack. The intensity of fear is that people avoid many pleasurable activities because of this fear of getting panic attacks.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychical illness that can occur after a terrifying trauma or nightmare. Some of the traumatic events include severe accidents, physical or sexual assault, or combat in war. Not everyone with a traumatic event develops PTSD, and it is common for those who experience any of its symptoms within a few weeks of the traumatic event. However, post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed when the symptoms last for a month or more after the event, causing significant stress and impairment in body functioning.

What Is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Human-caused or natural disasters, military conflicts, the death of loved ones, or relationship problems are traumatic events that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Many other disturbing events can also lead to PTSD, such as fire, robbery, mugging, plane crash, kidnapping, terrorist attack, scary medical diagnosis, and many other extremes or distressing events. 

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Unlike a broken arm or a rash, PTSD is adamant about identifying, majorly when it is happening in your mind. Though it feels or looks like rage or depression, PTSD is different. And it affects everything from your sleep to your relationships at work or home. If you experience any of these signs, ask your psychiatrist for a diagnosis:

  • Behaviour changes
  • Loss of memories
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Feeling detached from friends or family
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Loss of interest in several activities
  • Negative emotions such as anger, guilt, fear, or shame
  • Feelings of being avoided
  • Aggressive outbursts
  • Distressing thoughts
  • Difficulty concentration
  • Difficulty feeling emotions, such as happiness, etc
  • Hypervigilance

Post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed if a person experiences symptoms at least one month after a traumatic event. However, sometimes symptoms do not appear until many months or even years later. 

Social anxiety disorder is a continuous and marked fear of social or other situations in which there is exposure to unknown people or any possibility of being judged by others. This strain of anxiety disorder is specified by the fear of socialisation and involvement in social activities that can more often be characterised as a social phobia. We discover the most prominent reason behind this kind of anxiety as some degrees of shyness about speaking up in public and intense fear of terrifying social situations that interfere with the regular activity of the brain and come up with uncalled-for uneasiness. 

Suppose you are one of those persons subsiding their lives with social anxiety or social phobia disorder. In that case, you are more likely to come up against the feelings of being figured out, judged, remarked upon, and ignored by strangers. Those who encounter this type of anxiety are more conscious of not doing any stupidity or embarrassing thing or being irrational in front of others.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

When your social fears start interrupting your life currently, then it is a time when you are suffering from social anxiety or not. If you are trying to find out the indications to conclude about the reason behind your nervousness in social gatherings, then the given below signs will surely give you a clear idea about this. We sum up the bodily manifestations of social anxiety as:

  • Blushing
  • Trembling
  • racing heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea 
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shaky voice
  • Sinking breathing
  • Muscle tension
  • Discomforting stomach

A phobia is described by a group of a long row of extensive susceptibilities of fear and worries about a certain thing, although that does not pose any harm in reality. Due to highly exhaustion, anxiety, and apprehension, a person tries hard to avoid the objects of phobia. The avoidance of these objects causes nothings but contributes significantly to aggravating the phobia. In extreme conditions, these stressing feelings resulting from a phobia can linger on for an unusually long time, making your life a difficult room to live in. 

This irrational perturbation can be an outcome of objects including:

  • Fear of needles (trypanophobia)
  • Fear of flying (aerophobia)
  • Fear of height (acrophobia)
  • Fear of blood (hemophobia)
  • Fear of water (aquaphobia)
  • Fear of tight spaces (claustrophobia)
  • Fear of spiders (arachnophobia)

Symptoms of Phobia

The indications of a phobia become more noticeable when a person confronts the particular thing or place that instigates the discomforts and low down the potential to accomplish daily goals effectively. Mainly the symptoms of a phobia start at the age of 3 to 7 years in most children, and if these fears are left neglected, they become part of their lives. A significant proportion of people with this type of anxiety report the given below list of indications: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort and pain
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Imminent danger and intense fear
  • Feelings of choking
  • An extensive need for escape from a place
  • Shivering

Agoraphobia is designated by perturbing and disturbing emotions about getting a panic attack. An agoraphobic person always fears tackling a panic attack due to the terrifying nature of a panic attack. It usually evidences to occur at an unknown place or when a person is outside his home. The indications of this kind of anxiety make a person confine himself inside a house to stave off the probability of the disease at a minimum.

Usually, it starts affecting a person’s life at or after the age of 35 years and occurs with the frequency of 1% to 2% of the overall population. The situations arising due to agoraphobia disturb your daily routine due to continuous distress, anxiety, and panic. Conditions that could become a reason agoraphobia consist of:

  • Using public transport
  • Being at public or crowded places
  • Leaving home alone
  • Closed spaces such as a movie theatre

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

The most probable cause behind the onset of agoraphobic symptoms is the fear of getting a panic attack. That is why several indications of agoraphobia are quite relatable to the symptoms of a panic attack. Listed next are the symptoms of this type of anxiety disorder:

  • Preoccupations 
  • Obsessive fear
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden chills and flushing
  • Hyperventilation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Feeling shaky
  • Bothering stomach

Separation anxiety disorder emanates as a repercussion of the emotional stress of getting away and separated from a loved one, caregiver, or emotionally connected person. During the early developmental years of a child’s growth, these feelings are pretty normal, but they start repeating overwhelmingly they take the form of separation anxiety.

The type, as mentioned earlier, of anxiety, is one of the obvious factors behind the impaired and affected mental growth during the early years of childhood. Due to elevated levels of anxiety, a child starts depicting clingy behaviour towards that loved one or caregiver, making it difficult for such a child to go to school, sleep alone, and go out alone. The separation anxiety can also kick out after a grieving loss like the death of a dear one, including a pet or a person with whom you were fervently attached. 

In light of listing by “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”, given below are some types of anxiety that occur once in a while:

  • Medication or substance-induced anxiety 
  • Anxiety disorder due to another medical condition
  • Selective mutism
  • Skin picking disorder(dermatillomania)
  • Hair-pulling disorder(trichotillomania)



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