What Are the Different Types of Anxiety?

There are several different types of anxiety or anxiety disorders. Here are some of the more common types according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

If you have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), you’ll likely experience excessive worry that’s difficult to control. This worry often takes the form of rumination, or spending time excessively thinking or mulling over different events in the future — how they may play out and how you may deal with them.

It’s not uncommon to have symptoms and not be able to explain why. For people with GAD, symptoms like those listed above are present most days and for at least the past 6 months.

Social anxiety disorder/social phobia

Social anxiety disorder, also referred to as social phobia, is a fear of being embarrassed, humiliated, or criticized in a public setting like school or work.

You may have trouble talking to people or being in a large group. It’s not uncommon to avoid the places and situations that trigger this phobia.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by recurring, unexpected panic attacks.

They often happen without warning and result in physical symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, shaking, and dizziness. They also may involve feeling dissociated from reality or having a sense of impending doom.

In general, an attack lasts less than 20 minutes.


Phobias and specific phobias involve an irrational, overwhelming, and excessive fear of a place, situation, or object. Some of the more common phobias include:

  • acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces)
  • aerophobia (fear of flying)
  • hemophobia (fear of blood)
  • trypanophobia (fear of needles)
  • hydrophobia (fear of water)

Separation anxiety disorder

Separation anxiety disorder is most commonly diagnosed in kids, especially young children. However, adults can also experience this type of anxiety if they have extreme fear about something bad happening to a person in their life.

In children, the symptoms of fear, panic, worry, and anxiety surface when they’re separated from a parent or loved one. Adults may have extreme fear and worry about something tragic happening to a family member or loved one, even when they’re together.


Agoraphobia often occurs in response to panic attacks. If you have agoraphobia, you feel extreme fear or anxiety about having a panic attack or fear that something bad may happen in a specific place — usually outside the home.

You may avoid that place, usually confining yourself to the home, in order to stave off the possibility of something bad happening where you can’t access support or help.

You’ll often avoid feared places and situations at all costs.

Other types of anxiety

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) also lists other, less common types of anxiety, including:

  • selective mutism
  • substance- or medication-induced anxiety disorder
  • anxiety disorder due to another medical condition

Some mental health conditions are commonly referred to as anxiety disorders and may have once been classified as one, but now have a separate diagnostic category in the DSM-5.

These include:

  • Obsessive-compulsion and related disorders (OCRDs), which includes obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Adjustment disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)