Types of anxiety

There are many types of anxiety, with a range of signs and symptoms.

Some people have more than one type of anxiety. Some may also have another mental health condition at the same time, like depression.

On this page we explain the common signs, symptoms and treatments of several types of anxiety. If you or someone close to you think they might have anxiety, we can help you find support.

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

Generalised anxiety disorder is when someone feels anxious on most days.

The constant worrying can make it hard to work, study or see friends and family.

Learn more: Generalised anxiety disorder

I would be so consumed with anxiety that I couldn’t complete my work and would skip class. I struggled to put things in perspective and had emotional reactions far more extreme than the causes warranted.

Read Catriona’s story: I used to run from my anxiety, today I run with it

Panic disorder

Panic attacks are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable feelings of anxiety. Physical symptoms can include trouble breathing, chest pain, dizziness and sweating.

If someone has repeated panic attacks they may have a panic disorder.

Learn more: Panic disorder

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia) is when someone has an intense fear of being criticised, embarrassed or humiliated.

This fear can happen even in everyday situations, such as eating in front of others or talking to people.

Learn more: Social anxiety disorder

Specific phobias

A specific phobia is when someone feels very scared about a particular object or situation.

Common specific phobias are spiders, heights, having an injection or travelling on a plane.

Learn more: Specific phobias

Perinatal, antenatal and postnatal anxiety

Antenatal anxiety is when you experience anxiety during pregnancy.

Learn more: antenatal anxiety

Postnatal anxiety can develop up to one year after the birth of a child.

Learn more: postnatal anxiety

The term ‘perinatal anxiety’ is used to cover the period from conception until your baby is 12 months old.

The symptoms of anxiety are not that obvious when you’re pregnant or caring for a newborn. You might already be feeling a bit more anxious than usual, so it can be hard to know how much is ‘too much’.

If left untreated, anxiety can make parenting a child more challenging.

Other conditions where anxiety is present

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder can happen after a person experiences a distressing event like war, assault, accident or disaster.

Symptoms can include difficulty relaxing, upsetting dreams or flashbacks of the event, and avoidance of anything related to the event.

Learn more: Post-traumatic stress disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder is when someone has ongoing unwanted or intrusive thoughts and fears that cause anxiety.

They may use rituals or repetitive behaviours. For example, a fear of germs can lead to constant washing.

Learn more: Obsessive compulsive disorder

Which anxiety disorder do I have?

We explain the common signs, symptoms and treatments of several types of anxiety.

To get a formal diagnosis of a mental health condition, you’ll need to see a mental health professional. A GP, psychologist or psychiatrist can assess and diagnose anxiety.

It's important to seek support early if you're experiencing anxiety. Your symptoms may not go away on their own.

Get mental health support

Do I have anxiety or am I just feeling anxious?

You may be feeling unsure about whether you should seek support.

Our anonymous Anxiety and Depression Test (K10) can help you understand whether your anxious feelings are the kind of worries that will go away on their own, or whether it’s time to get more support to help you feel better.

It’s an evidence-based test that asks 10 questions about how you've been feeling over the past 4 weeks. Australian doctors and mental health professionals use this test, known as the K10. They sometimes ask you to take the K10 and talk about it with you.


Start the K10 test

What do different types of anxiety feel like?

Learn about what anxiety feels like and how it can be managed. Hear from people about their journey to recovery.

Connect with our online peer support community

Anonymously read, share and learn from people who are also living with anxiety.

The Beyond Blue Forums is a welcoming peer support community.

Visit the Beyond Blue Forum anxiety discussions

Supporting someone else

If you’re worried about someone close to you, there are things you can do to support them.

Personal stories of anxiety

If you have an anxiety condition, you’re not alone.

Learn what anxiety feels like and how it can be managed.

Read and watch more personal stories about anxiety

“I thought I was dying” – Milli describes what a panic attack feels like

In her own words, Milli explains what it was like when she had her first panic attack and how she dealt with it.

Finding answers to anxiety: Amy's story

From an early age, much of Amy’s life has been consumed by anxiety, especially in social situations.

References

Beyond Blue uses statistics from trusted references and research. For a full list of references for all statistics quoted on our website, please visit Statistics.