The basic symptoms of anxiety disorder include fear and worry. The fear category of anxiety symptoms includes panic attacks and phobias (fear of specific objects or situations; fear of embarrassment in public). The worry category of anxiety symptoms includes ruminating negative thoughts, anticipatory anxiety, and obsessions. Each of the major anxiety disorders has specific emphasis on these various anxiety symptoms in the fear and worry category, and they have significant overlap with regards to these anxiety symptoms. In other words, although the major anxiety disorders may have different core symptoms of anxiety, they also share other similar anxiety symptoms.
The major anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia, social phobia, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Other anxiety disorders include substance induced anxiety disorder, anxiety due to a general medical condition, acute stress disorder, adjustment disorder with anxiety, separation anxiety disorder, and selective mutism. Each disorder is associated with specific core anxiety symptoms:
- Generalized anxiety disorder- generalized worries, muscle tension
- Specific phobia- fear of an object or situation (i.e. fear of flying, fear of spiders)
- Social phobia- fear of social scrutiny or being embarrassed in public (i.e. stage fright)
- Panic disorder- panic attacks and anticipatory anxiety
- Post traumatic stress disorder- flashbacks and nightmares of trauma; avoidance; hypervigilance (increased arousal; on-guard constantly)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder- intrusive thoughts and ritualistic behaviors
In addition to having these fear and worry symptoms, anxiety disorders affect your functioning at home, work, or school, to the point where you are not able to carry out tasks that you were able to do before you developed an anxiety disorder. In addition, your relationships may suffer. Finally, the person who suffers from anxiety disorder has significant distress and has difficulty controlling their symptoms. Please click here and here for more information on anxiety disorders.