Understanding Anxiety Disorders: Classifications and Causes

Defined as an unpleasant feeling of apprehension, anxiety is something that everyone deals with from time to time. General life stresses, like job interviews and exams, can trigger this response. In most cases, it’s normal and even a good thing to experience, but when anxiety becomes a daily struggle and prohibits you from living a healthy life, you might have GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

What It Is

GAD is characterized as six or more months of chronic nervousness, restlessness, and a sense of impending danger or doomthat’s unfounded. Some even experience physical manifestations of anxiety:sweating, hyperventilating, trembling, a faster heart rate, and trouble sleeping. Generalized isn’t the only kind of anxiety disorder; read on to learn more of the different types and causes.


The common classifications that treatment centers for anxiety disorders encounter are:

  • General: Persistent and extreme fear of someactivities or events.
  • Agoraphobia:Fear of public places.
  • Social:Aversion to people or scenarios where the person would be seen by others.
  • Selective Mutism: Failure to speak in certain situations, like in school, when they can speak normally; this type is most common among children.
  • Separation: Excessive anxiety when moving away from a person or a place.


Unpleasant life experiences like trauma may trigger an anxiety disorder, but this isn’t always the case. In instances where the cause is unknown, psychiatrists may consider the following: mental or physical condition, the effects of drugs, genes, or a combination of these when determining the cause.

Anxiety can also coexist with other health conditions. And because the symptoms are atypical of a host of other mental or physical illnesses, it can be harder to pinpoint. That’s why an anxiety disorders treatment centerusually tests if a patient has:

Mental Conditions: depression, phobias, or stress disorders

Physical Conditions: heart disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or asthma

Occasionally, side-effects of medication for these health issues can aggravate anxiety disorders. This is due to hormonal imbalances caused by taking, misusing, and withdrawing from medication. However, if someone who’s diagnosed with an anxiety disorderdoesn’t have any substance-related health issues, the cause may be in their genes.

When to Seek Help

Going treatment centers for anxiety disorders is highly recommended if your feelings are:

  • interfering with your relationships, lifestyle, school, or work;
  • making you feel depressed;
  • are difficult to control;
  • or linked to a health issue.

Doing so can help you control your anxiety – not the other way around.

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