It’s normal to feel stressed, worried, or scared from time to time, but it’s a problem if those feelings persist. Anxiety disorders make you feel overwhelmed and they can be extremely disruptive to your life.

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Here are some different types of anxiety disorders:

Social Phobia Disorder

This is the most common type of anxiety disorder. It makes you want to avoid social situations because of the fear you’ll do something embarrassing or wrong. Social phobia can make you afraid to ask questions in a group setting, go to a party, join a club, or even hang out with new people.

Panic Disorder

A panic disorder is when a person experiences intense physical sensations when they’re stressed or upset. Panic attacks are a feature of panic disorder.

Specific Phobia Disorder

A specific phobia is an intense fear of one thing, like spiders, getting lost, or being in tight spaces. This fear is accompanied by body sensations, such as sweating, racing heart, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This type of anxiety can cause you to worry a lot for at least six months straight. You might worry about the same thing or lots of things. Either way, you can’t escape the feeling of dread and nervousness. This type of anxiety usually comes with some kind of physical symptom as well, such as trouble concentrating, snapping at people, and having trouble sleeping.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This kind of anxiety makes you constantly think about (obsess) over something. The obsession makes you behave in certain ways, and these behaviours are called compulsions. For example, someone who constantly worries about germs might wash their hands over and over again.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This is a form of anxiety that can affect people who have experienced a very upsetting event or set of circumstances. War, torture, and sexual assault are examples of experiences that can cause someone to suffer from PTSD. Someone with PTSD may experience nightmares and flashbacks, along with other symptoms.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

This type of anxiety is more common in kids than teens. It makes you afraid to be apart from your parents or other adults you’re close to. Separation anxiety can make kids terrified to go to school, summer camp or even a sleepover with friends.

Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a sudden and overwhelming set of feelings. It can happen during an upsetting or frightening experience, or it can also happen for no reason at all.

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Here are some signs of a panic attack:

  • Racing heart
  • Choking feeling; wanting to throw up
  • Panting
  • Pain in your chest or stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Shaky voice
  • Headache
  • Sweaty palms

You can’t die from a panic attack, but knowing that doesn’t help in the moment. If you experience panic attacks, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

How can I tell if I have an anxiety disorder?

Worrying or feeling nervous all the time a strong sign that you have some kind of anxiety. It might not be severe, but it’s still a smart idea to talk to someone about it. They can help you find coping strategies that are appropriate for you.

Here are some of the common signs of an anxiety disorder:

  • Constantly worrying
  • Wanting to be perfect, or being afraid to ever make a mistake
  • Obsessing about dying
  • Being afraid of the dark
  • Crying a lot
  • Having nightmares
  • Blanking out or freezing up when something stressful happens
  • Worrying that something horrible will happen to your family
  • Feeling like you’re going crazy
  • Avoiding your friends or social settings
  • Being terrified of speaking up, and never being able to ask a question

If you think you have an anxiety disorder, it’s a good idea to talk about it with a family member, counsellor, friend, or another person you trust. Don’t skip this step!

Opening up about what you’re going through is the first step toward finding a solution that works for you.