There are many ways in which a person can experience anxiety, and you may or may not be diagnosed with a specific anxiety disorder. Below are some of the more common types of anxiety:
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – this means having regular or uncontrollable worries about many different things in your everyday life. Due to the many varying symptoms of this type of anxiety, it can often be a very broad diagnosis, meaning that your experiences can be very different from somebody else with the same diagnosis.
- Social anxiety disorder – this means that you experience extreme fear or anxiety triggered by social situations (such as parties, workplaces, or everyday situations where you have to talk to another person). Social anxiety disorder can also be referred to as social phobia.
- Panic disorder – this is when a person has frequent panic attacks without a clear cause or trigger. A person who experiences panic disorder can often feel constantly worried about having a panic attack, that this itself can cause a panic attack.
- Phobias – a phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety caused by a particular situation (such as going outside) or a particular object (such as spiders or heights).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – if a person experiences something traumatic in their life, it can often lead to anxiety problems, with the person experiencing flashbacks or nightmares about the traumatic experience.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – many people with OCD develop repetitive thoughts, behaviours or urges, such as having to check the door is locked a certain number of times before leaving the house, or touching their hair a certain number of times before they can do something else.
- Health anxiety – this means you experience obsessions and compulsions relating to illness, including researching symptoms or checking to see if you have them; this diagnosis is often related to OCD.
- Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – people with a diagnosis of BDD often experience obsessions and compulsions relating to their physical appearance.
- Perinatal anxiety or perinatal OCD – this is when a woman develops anxiety during her pregnancy or within the first year of giving birth.