Signs of 4 Common Anxiety Disorders

Feb 01, 2024
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Have you ever wondered if your anxiety might be more severe than the emotion everyone experiences? It’s possible, but you should consider which type of anxiety disorder might be affecting you based on your symptoms.

Anxiety affects everyone. We can all get nervous, stressed, and scared under certain circumstances. 

But an anxiety disorder is something that affects every facet of your life, so much so that it becomes difficult for you to live with this condition, and often, professional treatment of some kind becomes necessary. 

At Black Onyx, we offer a comprehensive treatment program for anxiety, as well as a plan that takes your specific needs into account. But it’s also important to consider which type of anxiety disorder you might have depending on your symptoms.  

Peter Pham, PMHNP-BC, and Diana Bush, PMHNP-BC are well-versed in all four of the most common anxiety disorder types. Read about these issues and determine if you’re already dealing with an anxiety disorder. Then contact one of our four California clinics to start the treatment process.   

Common anxiety disorders and their signs 

Anxiety might sound like a very general issue: sweaty palms, racing heart, discomfort, and stress. But the kinds of anxiety that become disorders have additional telltale signs that can help you get to the root of the problem and begin treatment the right way. 

To find out which type of anxiety disorder you’re most likely suffering from, read about these four common types and compare the symptoms and signs associated with them to yours. But remember: It’s still important to seek a professional diagnosis so you can receive the right kind of treatment for your needs. 

Generalized anxiety disorder 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects up to 3.1% of the US population and is more likely to occur in women than men. It also tends to decrease with age, although this isn’t always the case. 

The symptoms of GAD are clear within its name. A person with this disorder experiences extreme worry, stress, and anxiety for months or even years. Any kind of change or stressful event also causes worry long before and after it occurs, and even daily activities that were once manageable can create severe anxiety. 

The condition also causes:

  • Muscle tension 
  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Feelings of restlessness 
  • Problems sleeping 
  • Tiredness and fatigue 

Treatment for GAD usually starts with behavioral therapy, though medications can sometimes be useful in managing moderate to severe forms of this condition. 

Social anxiety disorder 

Social anxiety disorder is similar to GAD in that it causes some of the same symptoms, but these are specifically focused on the issue of social interaction. People with social anxiety disorders might worry they will embarrass themselves in front of others constantly.

With social anxiety disorder, work, school, and other regular activities that require social interaction can become difficult or even impossible to navigate. What’s more, having to perform in front of others (as in giving a presentation) can be devastating. 

Sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, and other anxiety symptoms that occur specifically when you are faced with a daunting social interaction are strong signs of this disorder. The treatments include behavioral therapy, medications, and support groups. 


Specific phobias are anxiety disorders with different triggers that cause an incredibly fearful response. This is actually the most common type of anxiety disorder, affecting 9.1% of the US population. We treat it with exposure therapy and medications when necessary. 

You experience the same symptoms as a social anxiety disorder, but this occurs when you are faced with your trigger. Some of most common triggers include: 

  • Spiders (arachnophobia) 
  • Public spaces (agoraphobia)
  • Needles (trypanophobia)
  • Heights (acrophobia)
  • Flying (aerophobia)
  • Inclosed spaces (claustrophobia)

Panic disorder 

Panic disorder causes a panicked response, often in the form of a panic attack, to no specific trigger. Panic disorder may sound a bit like GAD, but they’re different. For the most part, GAD causes long-term, generalized anxiety, while panic disorder causes bursts of emotion. 

Panic disorder is specifically associated with the experience of panic attacks. These attacks are severe. The person experiencing them may hyperventilate, tremble, and freeze up. Behavioral therapy and medication can treat this condition as well. 

Anxiety disorders: no cure but can be treated 

With treatment, you can see a difference in your symptoms and experience fewer problems. To learn more, call us or make an appointment online. Our offices are located in Los Angeles, South San Francisco, Orange, and San Diego, California. We’re happy to help.