(DSM-V, 2013) Disorders consisting of extreme fear and anxiety relating to behavioral disturbances. A real or perceived imminent threat will result in fear, whereas anxiety is the anticipation of a future threat. Both circumstances overlap and differ. Fear is linked to autonomic arousal necessary for fight or flight, thoughts of immediate danger, and escape behaviors. Anxiety is linked to muscle tension and vigilance in preparation for future danger and cautious or avoidant behaviors. Other types of anxiety disorders that will not be covered here are selective mutism and substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

(DSM-V, 2013) An excessive anxiety or worry about various types of activities or events. The worry is typically about daily, routine life events like job duties, health, finances, family members, misfortunes, household chores, or being late for an appointment. The duration, frequency, and intensity are out of proportion to the actual anticipated event. The thoughts of worry are uncontrollable, interfere with tasks and may shift from thought to thought. 


(DSM-V, 2013) An intense fear or anxiety that is triggered by the real or anticipation of a real wide range of situation. There are five situations where at least in two of them this fear or anxiety needs to occur. Those five situations are: 1) using public transportation like automobiles, buses, trains, ships, or planes; 2) being in an open space like a parking lot, marketplace, or bridge; 3) being in enclosed spaces, like a shop, theater, or cinema; 4) standing in a line or in a crowd; or 5) being outside of the home alone. There is a fear that something terrible may happen, escape will not be possible, or no one will be around to help. Symptoms of panic will occur. 

Separation Anxiety Disorder

(DSM-V, 2013) An extreme level of fear and anxiety in an individual that they will be separated from attachment figures to a degree that is developmentally inappropriate. There is a consistent fear or anxiety that the attachment figures will be harmed, leading to separation or even loss of the attachment figure. This will cause a hesitation in going away from the attachment figure and may cause nightmares or physical side effects. It usually develops in child hood but can be experienced throughout adulthood.

Specific Phobia

(DSM-V, 2013) An intense fear to a particular object or situation. Many individuals have a fear from more than one category of phobic stimulus. The main categories are animal (e.g., spiders, insects, dogs), natural environment (e.g., heights, storms, water), blood-injection-injury (e.g., needles, invasive medical procedures), situational (e.g., airplanes, elevators, enclosed spaces), or other (e.g., situations that may lead to choking or committing; in children, e.g., loud sounds or costumed characters).

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

(DSM-V, 2013) An intense fear or anxiety of being scrutinized in a social setting. The individual fears being negatively judged as anxious, weak, crazy, stupid, boring, intimidating, dirty, or unlikable. May fear shows symptoms of anxiety like blushing, trembling, sweating, stumbling, or staring. Others may fear being rejected or offending others. 

Panic Disorder

(DSM-V, 2013) Recurrent panic attacks that happen unexpectedly. There is no sign of a panic attack coming on and will happen instantly. An individual can be in a relaxed or an anxious state on the onslaught of an attack.

Panic Attack: (DSM-V, 2013) Surge of intense fear or discomfort that reaches its peak within minutes and at least four of the 13 possible symptoms must be present. Out of these 13 symptoms, two are cognitive and the rest are physical. Some physical symptoms consist of chest pain, dizziness, sweating, palpitations, nausea, etc. The two cognitive symptoms consist of a fear of dying and losing control or going crazy.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.