Skip to main content

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress that can keep you alert in dangerous situations and encourage you to be productive at school or work. While anxiety is common and perfectly normal in most situations, if you feel excessive fear or apprehension in your everyday life, you may have an anxiety disorder

Are there different types of anxiety disorders?


There are several different types of anxiety disorders, and the most common are:


Generalized anxiety disorder


Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by feelings of excessive worry and fear that interferes with your daily activities. Many people with generalized anxiety disorder experience:

  • Frequent muscle tension
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue

While your worry can be directed toward finances, relationships, health, and job security, many people experience this type of anxiety over small tasks like chores, school work, or appointments.


Social anxiety disorder


A person with a social anxiety disorder has a feeling of humiliation or embarrassment around other people that impacts their ability to form friendships and connect with others. You may find yourself avoiding meeting new people, feeling physically ill at the thought of public speaking, or fearful of eating and drinking in public.


Panic disorder


Panic disorders are characterized by overwhelming physical and psychological discomfort that results in panic attacks. These sudden attacks may include one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Feeling detached

Panic attacks can be frightening if you’ve never had one. Some people mistake them for heart attacks, so it’s important to know the warning signs.




Phobias are excessive fear or worry toward specific objects, situations, or activities. Most people with phobias are aware that their fear isn’t normal, but they can’t overcome their excessive worry. As a result, many avoid what they fear altogether.


How is anxiety treated?


How your anxiety is treated depends on which type you have. Two of the most common anxiety treatments include:




Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, gives you the chance to understand your emotional response to anxiety-inducing situations and help you figure out why you respond the way you do. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you change problematic thought patterns into healthier ones. Meanwhile, behavioral therapy helps you combat unhealthy behaviors.




Medication does not help get to the root of your anxiety, but it can significantly reduce your symptoms. Some of the most common medications for anxiety include antidepressants, anxiolytics, and anticonvulsants.


Untreated anxiety can negatively affect your daily life, leading to stress, depression, and more.

Skip to content