Types of Anxiety

Generalised anxiety disorder

Generalised anxiety disorder is characterised by marked symptoms of anxiety that persist for at least several months, for more days than not, manifested by either general apprehension (i.e. ‘free-floating anxiety’) or excessive worry focused on multiple everyday events, most often concerning family, health, finances, and school or work, together with additional symptoms such as muscular tension or motor restlessness, sympathetic autonomic over-activity, subjective experience of nervousness, difficulty maintaining concentration, irritability, or sleep disturbance. The symptoms result in significant distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms are not a manifestation of another health condition and are not due to the effects of a substance or medication on the central nervous system. 

 

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is characterised by recurrent unexpected panic attacks that are not restricted to particular stimuli or situations. Panic attacks are discrete episodes of intense fear or apprehension accompanied by the rapid and concurrent onset of several characteristic symptoms (e.g. palpitations or increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, chills, hot flushes, fear of imminent death). In addition, panic disorder is characterised by persistent concern about the recurrence or significance of panic attacks, or behaviours intended to avoid their recurrence, that results in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms are not a manifestation of another medical condition and are not due to the effects of a substance or medication on the central nervous system.

 

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is characterised by marked and excessive fear or anxiety that occurs in response to multiple situations where escape might be difficult or help might not be available, such as using public transportation, being in crowds, being outside the home alone (e.g., in shops, theatres, standing in line). The individual is consistently anxious about these situations due to a fear of specific negative outcomes (e.g., panic attacks, other incapacitating or embarrassing physical symptoms). The situations are actively avoided, entered only under specific circumstances such as in the presence of a trusted companion, or endured with intense fear or anxiety. The symptoms persist for least several months, and are sufficiently severe to result in significant distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

 

 

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder is characterised by marked and excessive fear or anxiety that consistently occurs in one or more social situations such as social interactions (e.g. having a conversation), doing something while feeling observed (e.g. eating or drinking in the presence of others), or performing in front of others (e.g. giving a speech). The individual is concerned that he or she will act in a way, or show anxiety symptoms, that will be negatively evaluated by others. Relevant social situations are consistently avoided or else endured with intense fear or anxiety. The symptoms persist for at least several months and are sufficiently severe to result in significant distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

 

Separation anxiety disorder

Separation anxiety disorder is characterised by marked and excessive fear or anxiety about separation from specific attachment figures. In children and adolescents, separation anxiety typically focuses on caregivers, parents or other family members and the fear or anxiety is beyond what would be considered developmentally normative. In adults, the focus is typically a romantic partner or children. Manifestations of separation anxiety may include thoughts of harm or untoward events befalling the attachment figure, reluctance to go to school or work, recurrent excessive distress upon separation, reluctance or refusal to sleep away from the attachment figure, and recurrent nightmares about separation. The symptoms persist for at least several months and are sufficiently severe to result in significant distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

​Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may develop following exposure to an extremely threatening or horrific event or series of events. It is characterised by all of the following: 1) re-experiencing the traumatic event or events in the present in the form of vivid intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares. Re-experiencing may occur via one or multiple sensory modalities and is typically accompanied by strong or overwhelming emotions, particularly fear or horror, and strong physical sensations; 2) avoidance of thoughts and memories of the event or events, or avoidance of activities, situations, or people reminiscent of the event(s); and 3) persistent perceptions of heightened current threat, for example as indicated by hypervigilance or an enhanced startle reaction to stimuli such as unexpected noises. The symptoms persist for at least several weeks and cause significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.