Types Of Anxiety Disorders And How You Can Treat Them

Updated February 20, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Anxiety is a very serious problem that many people deal with every single day. If you’re struggling with anxiety symptoms, you should know that you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting more than 40 million adults every year. There are many types of anxiety disorders; your doctor will need to determine which anxiety disorder you might be experiencing.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

It Can Be Hard To Know Which Anxiety Treatment Is Right For You

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a type of anxiety disorder that causes someone to feel constantly worried. If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, you might feel anxiety underneath the surface while doing many tasks. Anxiety disorders like this are very persistent, and you might feel anxious about everyday activities. You might worry about things in your life or wonder if you can die from anxiety, even when there isn’t anything to be worried about. It can be frustrating and confusing for people to feel this way, and that’s why getting help with anxiety disorders is so important.

Panic Disorder

People who have panic disorder experience panic episodes that can be very extreme at times. These panic episodes could manifest with physical symptoms such as chest pains, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and even dizziness. Some people also experience abdominal pain when they have a panic attack.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often occurs in people who have gone through particularly traumatic events, such as serving in a war, which is why many soldiers have PTSD. Individuals with various traumatic experiences can develop PTSD because of what they have been through in their lives. The traumatic events an individual experiences can come rushing back to the forefront of their mind, causing extreme panic. PTSD needs to be monitored closely. Coping with anxiety disorders like PTSD can be very difficult, but treatments are available.

Social Anxiety Disorder

When someone has a social anxiety disorder, they will have problems interacting with other people. Some people have extreme social anxiety and cannot leave the house without feeling intense panic. Others only have social anxiety problems in very specific situations. Anxiety disorders like this can be brought under control with time and treatment.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by a person having unwanted, repeated thoughts or actions. Someone who has OCD might compulsively wash their hands, or they could feel compelled to touch every object in a room before they are allowed to leave it. Having OCD can be challenging in many ways, making it tough for some people to live without complications. However, OCD is something that you can control with therapy. Many patients get help with their OCD, and they learn to control their compulsions over time.

Treatments for Anxiety

Now that you know more about the various anxiety disorders, you’re probably wondering about treatment options. Thankfully, many treatment options are available for people diagnosed with anxiety disorders. It’s possible to work with a mental health professional to get things under control.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

There are many anti-anxiety medications on the market that people use to control anxiety symptoms. Anti-anxiety prescription medications can treat people with many different types of anxiety. Some medicines can help people with panic disorder and manage panic attacks. It’s best to speak with your doctor about your mental health so that you can determine the best route to take to get things under control.


Therapy is very effective when it comes to helping people with anxiety. In fact, some research shows that psychotherapy is more effective than medication for treating some forms of anxiety. Sometimes it’s best to deal with the underlying causes. Some people will have specific anxiety triggers, while others might lead lives that are too stressful and need to reassess things.

Anxiety isn’t the same for everyone, and what you’re experiencing could be drastically different than what someone with an anxiety disorder is going through. A therapist will work with you to understand why you’re experiencing anxiety and determine the best course of treatment. For example, social anxiety disorders usually develop for a reason, and figuring that out could help a person to overcome their limitations. People diagnosed with PTSD work with therapists extensively to manage symptoms and develop coping mechanisms. 

There are several different types of therapy for anxiety that you can try as well.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Some therapists will use a cognitive-behavioral approach to treating your anxiety. This therapy style examines negative thoughts or actions and how they can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Changing how you think about something can often improve things, which might even be enough to get your anxiety under control. Depending on your situation, working with a therapist who offers CBT therapy could work wonders.

One of the biggest reasons cognitive behavioral therapy has become so standard is that it works very well. Feelings of anxiety are not always reasonable, and sometimes they occur because of cognitive distortions you have created. For instance, you might experience extreme anxiety in social situations, and you could feel very self-conscious. Many people who experience social anxiety feel the way they do because they think others are looking at them and judging them. When you realize that the things you’re thinking aren’t necessarily true, it becomes easier to let go of the anxiety you’re holding onto.

It takes time to make changes, but the cognitive-behavioral approach to therapy has helped a number of people. You can learn how to change your negative thoughts and actions for the better. You can count on the guidance of a therapist to help you determine a path forward when dealing with various anxiety issues.

Exposure Therapy

Another approach to therapy is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a bit different because it forces a person to confront the things that cause them anxiety. This therapy works well for some people with anxiety, but it isn’t practical in every situation. Sometimes facing your fears can help you overcome them. Repeated exposure to something might make it seem more natural to you, and you will no longer experience anxiety when put in that situation.

Lifestyle Changes To Manage Anxiety

It’s also worth noting that lifestyle changes can help people to feel better overall. Doctors recommend ensuring that you are getting enough exercise when you’re trying to alleviate anxiety symptoms. Even adopting a mild daily exercise routine could help you manage your stress levels and reduce anxiety. This will also improve your overall health and make you feel more confident. You should combine regular exercise with a healthy diet to get the maximum benefits.

Other common-sense lifestyle changes can also make a difference. Getting enough sleep at night will make you less prone to experiencing certain anxiety symptoms, and you should also consider avoiding alcohol. Reducing your stress levels can also make a difference in your mental health. Consider the things that cause you to feel anxious, and then work with your doctor to devise a plan to reduce your daily stress levels that will be practical for you.

Online Therapy

It Can Be Hard To Know Which Anxiety Treatment Is Right For You

Online therapy is also readily available to you if you would like to go that route. Online therapy is an affordable and discreet option that has worked well for many people. It allows patients to reach out online and talk to licensed therapists whenever it is convenient for them to do so. You can even message your therapist in the middle of the night, and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

Research shows that online therapy is effective for treating anxiety, too. One review showed that online CBT led to a 50% improvement in symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression and significantly decreased the impact of stress. Ready to get started? Get in touch with a BetterHelp therapist to learn more.


There are multiple anxiety disorders, and each has unique symptoms that can affect your life in countless ways. If you need help managing your anxiety, online therapy connects you with a qualified professional so you can get started right away from the comfort of your own home.

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