The most common anxiety disorders are:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) involves chronic and constant excessive worry and anticipation of disaster in every area of life. Symptoms include insomnia, headaches, sweatiness, fatigue, trembling, hot flushes and difficulty swallowing.
Panic disorder involves repeated and sudden panic attacks characterized by pounding heart, weakness, dizziness, tingling, chest pain, nausea, choking, terror, fear of loss of control and impending doom.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after terrifying events such as violent attacks, natural disasters, accidents and experience of war. The symptoms include persistent frightening thoughts and memories of the ordeal, sleep problems and traumatic nightmares, emotional numbness, loss of interest and motivation, and even aggression and violence.
Social phobia involves overwhelming anxiety and self-consciousness about ordinary social situations. Sufferers are so nervous and fearful of being judged by others and are so embarrassed by themselves that the condition affects work, school and friendships. Symptoms include trembling, nausea, blushing and sweating.
Specific phobias are irrational and extreme fears of a thing that is actually little or no danger, which lead the sufferer to go to extreme lengths to avoid the object of fear. Some examples are fear of flying, tunnels, water, dogs, spiders, heights, rodents, blood.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) involves anxious thoughts and rituals that control the sufferer’s life and compel them to stave off disaster through acting out certain behaviours according to specific rules. It takes many different forms, but the feelings of intense anxiety and the need to act out rituals to relieve the anxiety are common to each.