Different Types of Anxiety Attacks and Their Characteristics

Mental health professionals and experts generally recognize 6 different types of anxiety attacks and disorders. These are important to identify and treat in a timely fashion so that they don’t escalate and spiral out of control. We look briefly at the types of anxiety attacks, their nature and their characteristics.Anxiety Attacks and Their Characteristics


1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Of the different types of anxiety attacks, this one is the most common. Here a person feels an unexplained sense of anxiety or dread even when there is nothing to provoke it. The person may be described as a compulsive worrywart; feeling anxious all the time without even knowing why.

Other symptoms include difficultly in sleeping, feeling tired and digestive disturbances. There could also be difficulty in concentrating and reasoning.

2. Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder

This is another one of the different types of anxiety attacks in which everyday situations and occurrences could make a person feel painfully shy and self-conscious.

The fear of being judged and found wanting by others is a predominant and constant one. There is an unrealistic fear of being embarrassed or ridiculed by others.

3. Panic Disorder

This disorder is usually characterized by intense and sudden panic attacks when a person may feel as though they are having a heart attack, going mad or even dying.

There is a racing of the heart, palpitations, chest pain, breathing difficulties, breaking out in a cold sweat and so on. A panic attack can be a terrifying experience.

4. Specific Phobia

Different types of anxiety attacks are also characterized by many specific phobias. A person may be pathologically scared of open spaces, of closed spaces, or water, of flying, of heights, reptiles, spiders… the list goes on.

These phobias could translate into avoidance of situations and going to great lengths to do so. They could be extreme enough to be unmanageable and may start to interfere with normal day-to-day functioning.

5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Any traumatic or extremely stressful event could trigger this disorder. War, sexual assault or abuse, a bereavement or natural disaster could cause one to develop PTSD. A person could have recurrent nightmares, persistent worry of recurrence and unpleasant emotional reactions to the event.

6. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This is the last of different types of anxiety attacks that are most commonly recognized. Here a person feels compelled to perform certain actions and is obsessive about them. Certain rituals and compulsions become part of a person’s behavior.



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