5 Major Anxiety Types - Signs & Symptoms

Looking to learn more about anxiety? We explain the 5 major types of anxiety, their symptoms, and where they come from.

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We've all heard of anxiety - that fight-or-flight worried feeling that strikes when we're stressed or under pressure.

But did you know all there are different anxiety types that manifest in different areas of our lives?

Four breathing exercises to try for anxiety relief →

Learning more about the different types of anxiety can help you better understand what you're experiencing, and figure out treatment and coping strategies that make sense for you.

What is Anxiety?

In case you need a refresher, let's define what plain old anxiety is.

Anxiety is a worried, uneasy, nervous feeling. When you're anxious, you might notice yourself having racing thoughts and going through countless "what-if" scenarios. It is usually hard to put these worried thoughts aside.

Anxiety also has a long list of physical symptoms, including rapid heart rate, sweating, heavy breathing, and high blood pressure.

Learn more about the physical symptoms of anxiety →

Anxiety is usually associated with stressful or high-stakes events - like a performance or job interview.

Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorders

Most people experience anxiety from time to time, when confronted with particularly stressful situations.

So what distinguishes a passing feeling of anxiety from an anxiety disorder?

Those with anxiety disorders usually feel anxious all the time, even about routine day-to-day activities. The anxiety may be so intense and consuming that it can prevent them from functioning normally in their daily life.

If you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, it's best to reach out to a licensed mental health professional for a diagnosis. They can help you come up with a treatment plan that works for you.

5 Major Anxiety Types and Their Symptoms

Now, let's break down the major anxiety types, where they come from, and the signs to look out for.

Remember, only a licensed mental health professional can make an official diagnosis. If any of these descriptions resonate with you, it might be a good time to open up a conversation about treatment.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a form of chronic anxiety that is, well, general. Those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may feel anxious about all kinds of things, without necessarily having a specific pattern. You may feel anxious often, but find difficulty identifying why.

Symptoms to look out for include frequent rumination, worrying, and feelings of anxiety that occur regularly without specific cause.

2. Social Anxiety Disorder

Unlike Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder has a specific trigger: social situations. Your anxiety may manifest as fears of embarrassment in front of other people while socializing at school or work.

Symptoms to look out for include insecurity interacting with others, people-pleasing behaviors, and avoiding large groups or social functions.

3. Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is unique from Generalized Anxiety Disorder in that the anxiety comes on suddenly and in full force in the form of panic attacks.

Panic attacks typically last less than 20 minutes, and have intense physical symptoms like racing heart, crying, shaking, disassociation, and shortness of breath. They may occur randomly, or due to particular triggers.

4. Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety tied specifically to places associated with feelings of panic and embarrassment. It commonly evolves out of Panic Disorder - individuals who experience panic attacks in public places, for example, may go on to avoid public places at all costs. This is due to a belief that if it happens again, there will be no way to escape or get help.

Symptoms to look out for include intense fear, feelings of entrapment and helplessness, and avoiding particular places or situations associated with panic attacks.

5. Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder is most popularly associated with small children, but can happen at any stage of life. Separation Anxiety, as the name suggests, is anxiety surrounding being apart from someone you're attached to. This could be a parent, partner, family member, or other close loved one.

Learn more about relationship anxiety →

Symptoms to look out for include fears of being alone, beliefs that loved ones will be in danger if they're apart from you, and physical symptoms of anxiety upon separation.

Conclusion

Though we all experience anxiety here and there sometimes, frequent anxiety that feels unmanageable may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders come in the form of 5 anxiety types, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Separation Anxiety. The different anxiety types have varying symptoms and triggers.

If you're looking for ways to self-reflect and manage your anxiety, try journaling with the Jour app. We have personalized journal prompts specifically designed for coping with anxiety and calming yourself down when you're feeling tense. And, since it's all on your phone, we're right here at your fingertips whenever you need us most!