Types of anxiety disorders range from those that affect only one situation, such as being around spiders, to those that affect many aspects of everyday life. Below, you'll find a list of anxiety disorders with a brief explanation of each type.
Two of the most common types of anxiety disorders are social anxiety disorder and phobias. In their mild forms, they are relatively benign. On the extreme end, both can be psychologically debilitating.
List of Short-Term Anxiety Disorders
Eleven types of anxiety disorders are recognized by the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). Some types of anxiety disorders are short-term and often resolve themselves with the removal of a stressor. (Wondering if you have an anxiety disorder? Take our anxiety disorder test.)
Here's a list of anxiety disorders that are typically short-term:1
- Acute stress disorder – diagnosed when anxiety symptoms occur immediately following a trauma, but are short-lived.
- Adjustment disorder with anxious features – diagnosed when a person develops anxiety symptoms in relation to a major life-changing event – like getting married or moving to another city. Symptoms generally start within three months of the stressful event and occur for six months or less.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder – generally resolves when the substance is discontinued or when withdrawal from the substance is over.
List of Long-Term Anxiety Disorders
Other types of anxiety disorders develop and remain long-term. Many start in childhood and last long into adulthood, particularly if treatment has not been sought.
This list of anxiety disorders includes:
- Agoraphobia – a fear of being in a public place where escape would be embarrassing or difficult. This is particularly prevalent when a person fears they may have a panic attack.
- Anxiety due to a general medical condition – this type of anxiety disorder can be short- or long-term depending on the medical condition. Anxiety often develops in relation to illnesses like heart conditions.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – anxiety symptoms occur in multiple environments and due to multiple objects or situations. Anxiety symptoms may not have a known cause.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – anxiety symptoms are in the form of intrusive, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors (or mental acts). OCD is considered a chronic type of anxiety disorder.
- Panic disorder – consists of severe, immediate anxiety symptoms (a panic attack) due to a variety of causes, as well as the worry over having another panic attack.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – anxiety symptoms that occur after a trauma and are long-term in nature.
- Social phobia, also referred to as social anxiety disorder – anxiety symptoms occur in social or performance situations and stem from the fear of being humiliated or embarrassed.
- Specific phobia (also known as a simple phobia) – anxiety symptoms occur around a specific object or situation which results in avoidance.