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What Are the Different Types of Anxiety?

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Dec 21, 2022

What Are the Different Types of Anxiety?

Everyone has experienced worry and anxiety at some point. After all, it is a normal part of our lives. But if it is normal to be anxious, when and why does it become an illness? It only becomes a disorder when it becomes persistent and excessive, that it causes distress or impairment in our daily life. What’s worse is, people who have anxiety will often experience multiple symptoms simultaneously. These symptoms may all be for one type of disorder. But in some cases, they could actually be for different kinds of anxiety disorders.

In the Philippines, mental health is still a bit of a taboo topic and there is still some stigma surrounding mental illnesses. In fact, it is almost as if a person’s mental health gets entirely brushed off or swept under the rug.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders may be ignored, especially with the prevailing mentality of “Nerbyos lang ‘yan.” Nerbyos seems to be an umbrella term that Filipinos like to use to describe some form of mental or emotional distress.

The fact is, there are different kinds of anxiety disorders. And it is indeed possible to suffer more than one type at a time.

The Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD

The first type is GAD, which stands for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. If you have a big presentation or an important job interview coming up, it is absolutely normal for you to feel some nerves and anxiety. That type of nervousness can sometimes help you perform better by motivating you to prepare more. Then, once that presentation or interview is done, life goes back to normal, and the nerves are gone.

For those who suffer from GAD, however, those nerves never go away. The nervousness and anxiety is present day in and day out and may reach the point where they experience difficulty sleeping and muscle tension, that they start to become irritable.

Practically everything worries them, and the symptoms that they feel are intense and persistent. It is not just one thing that makes them anxious, it is basically everything in their day to day lives. They even have excessive fears over small matters in every aspect – family, friends, relationships, careers, finances, you name it.

If you have been feeling anxiety in such a manner on most days for six months or more, you may have GAD. You may even have some similar conditions such as social phobia or depression.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety is a real thing, and it can make life really difficult for those who have to do things in public or in front of an audience.

The truth is, social anxiety can get so bad that even eating around others at a restaurant can feel intimidating and daunting. There are indeed some people who suffer intense anxiety at the thought of having to be around people.

Often, social anxiety is triggered by the fear of feeling embarrassed or humiliated. It can also be triggered by the thought of getting criticized or judged, or even just laughed at.

People who experience this disorder may feel intense nervousness, intense perspiration, blushing and stammering during talking, trembling, and in severe cases, nausea and diarrhea.

The intensity of social anxiety may differ from person to person. Some people can have it far worse than others, to the extent that they no longer want to be around others. Milder cases, on the other hand, may involve simply having to deal with intense fear in large or important social occasions.

Specific Phobias

Yes, indeed — a phobia falls under the umbrella of anxiety disorders. It is not uncommon for people to have fears about certain things. Animals, situations, heights, water, fire… name it, and there will be people who experience extreme discomfort about it. However, phobias are often over-exaggerated reactions of fear to the point of irrationality.

It is possible to have more than one phobia. There are at least five categories of phobias as well, namely:

  • Animal phobias
  • Phobias of the natural environment
  • Body phobias (blood, injuries, vomit and injections)
  • Situational phobias
  • Sexual phobias

If you are unsure whether you do have a phobia, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Irrational fear of something
  • Doing whatever you can to avoid the subject of your fear
  • Your fear is getting in the way of your day-to-day life
  • These signs and symptoms have been around for over six months

It is worth noting that if you feel anxiety or fear for things such as public speaking or similar, these fall more under social anxiety than phobias.

Unique Types of Phobias That You Probably Never Heard of

Panic Disorders

Panic Disorders usually manifest in the form of a panic attack. But it is not just a panic attack — it is a lot more than just that. These panic attacks come regularly and frequently, and get in the way of daily life. Panic attacks cause the sufferer not only psychological symptoms but physical effects as well. In fact, some people consult a general medical doctor instead of a mental health doctor because the physical symptoms predominate. You can expect:

  • Palpitations
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Chest pain
  • Body weakness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Fears of dying and/or losing control
  • Abdominal pains and nausea

If you have panic attacks regularly for a month, you may have a panic disorder. Seek help from a credible support group or mental health professional.

Key Takeaways

Although mental health awareness needs to be more widespread in the Philippines, it is in your best interest to seek help if you suspect that you’re suffering an anxiety disorder. This is doubly important if your anxiety is getting in the way of your daily life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong about learning more about what may be affecting your psyche, and it takes strength to understand and do what you need to do for your own well-being. If you find yourself unable to visit a psychiatrist due to low funds, there are many free clinics available. The first step is learning about different kinds of anxiety disorders and reaching out for help.

Learn more about Anxiety Disorder here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Dec 21, 2022

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