Individuals with panic disorder experience recurrent panic attacks that feel out of the blue. Panic attacks are rapid surges of fear that typically peak within a few minutes and can include a variety of intense physical sensations (i.e., rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, shaking, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, tingling sensations, feeling hot or cold, feelings of choking). Panic attacks can also involve feelings that things are not real or that one is detached from oneself, fears of losing control or going “crazy,” and often, fears of dying.

Agoraphobia involves fears of being in situations from which escape might be difficult or help might not be available if panic symptoms, or other embarrassing symptoms (i.e., losing bowel or bladder control, fainting, vomiting), might occur.

People with GAD often describe themselves (or are described by others) as “worriers” and experience excessive and intrusive worried thoughts that are difficult to control.

The defining feature of social anxiety is a persistent fear of negative evaluation from others in social (i.e., conversations, parties, meeting new people) or performance (i.e., giving a speech, job interviews) situations. Socially anxious people often worry that they will appear anxious or awkward in social situations and also anticipate that others will perceive them negatively.

Phobias are the most common type of anxiety problem and involve high levels of fear and distress in response to the feared triggers or situations.

Health anxiety (also referred to as illness anxiety disorder) involves excessive fears about having or developing a serious illness. These fears are often accompanied by a range of excessive health behaviors, including checking the body for signs or symptoms of an illness, considerable time spend engaging in internet research about health conditions, and seeking out numerous medical tests or opinions.