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.
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.
While fears about separation are normal in young children, separation anxiety disorder is diagnosed when a child seems excessively anxious about separation from home or loved ones. Features include unrealistic worry about harm to self or significant others during periods of separation, reluctance to sleep alone or be alone, physical complaints, and signs of distress in anticipation of separation.
School refusal behavior is another common feature of separation anxiety disorder
Children with selective mutism can often be talkative in the privacy of their homes, but have difficulty speaking, or are unable to speak at all, in school and other social situations. Although these children might appear willful, they are actually self-conscious and experience the problem as an inability to speak. This disorder tends to co-occur with social anxiety. Often, difficulties with selective mutism can be seen at an early age and begin in preschool.