What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders?

There are different types of anxiety disorders, and their symptoms can be both psychological and physiological and may include feelings of fear or worry, excess perspiration, headaches, irritability, heart palpitations, muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, and more.  

There are many potential causes of anxiety, like having suffered emotional trauma during childhood, a sudden stressful event, a buildup of stress over time, or the presence of a phobia. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the initial trigger, anxiety can often be debilitating. And even in milder cases, anxiety can still impact an individual’s quality of life. [i]

For over 40 years, the Drake Institute has offered non-invasive, drug-free treatment protocols designed specifically to address the needs of patients suffering from anxiety.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of anxiety, their causes, and how our non-drug treatment protocols may help patients suffering from anxiety.

To learn more about the Drake Institute’s non-drug treatment options for anxiety, please call us at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the free contact form.

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), anxiety disorders "include disorders that share features of excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral disturbances."[ii]

Some amount of anxiety is completely normal, especially when dealing with the pressures of relationships, work, school, and more.

However, when the anxiety persists for 6 months or more, it could mean that the individual is now suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders

At the Drake Institute, we consider anxiety disorders as psychophysiological, therefore symptoms can manifest as both psychological and physical.

The types of anxiety disorders and symptoms vary based on several factors, but some of the most common symptoms are found here:

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Panic attacks
  • Digestive dysfunction
  • Easily fatigued
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tensions in the neck and shoulder
  • Somatic symptoms (sweating, nausea, diarrhea)
  • Frequent urination
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)
  • Headaches
  • Cold or sweaty hands
  • Palpitations (heart pounding)
  • Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Hyperventilating
  • Trembling

Anxiety Symptoms in Adults

  • Disturbed sleep (falling or staying asleep)
  • Irritability
  • Feeling on edge
  • Emotional over-reactivity
  • Easily fatigued
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Debilitating fear
  • Excessive worrying
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Social avoidance
  • Low self-image
  • Unrelieved or chronic self-doubt
  • Inner restlessness
  • Phobias
  • Substance abuse (self-medicating symptoms)
  • Waiting for the next shoe to drop, or feeling like you’re on thin ice

Anxiety Symptoms in Children

  • Stomach aches
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Clinging behavior
  • Fear of separation from parents
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Temper tantrums
  • Fear and avoidance of social situations
  • Headaches
  • Fear of sleeping alone
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Nightmares

What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety?

There are several different forms of anxiety, with no two cases presenting exactly alike.

Based on the triggers and symptoms, anxiety disorders can be separated into different types commonly seen in adults and children.

So just what are the different types of anxiety disorders? See below for a list of anxiety disorders from the DSM-V.

  • Separation Anxiety Disorders
  • Selective Mutism
  • Specific Phobia
  • Social Phobia
  • Panic Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorders

Separation anxiety disorder occurs when a person experiences distress and anxiety symptoms when separated from another person, generally a caregiver. This disorder appears most often in children and teens. [iii]

Selective Mutism

Selective mutism, like separation anxiety, usually affects children and adolescents. If the disorder is not addressed, it may also continue into adulthood in severe cases. The primary characteristic of selective mutism is the inability to speak in certain situations. With this disorder, a patient may not simply be choosing not to speak; their severe anxiety may prohibit them from doing so. [iv]

Specific Phobia

A phobia is an irrational fear of something that, in reality, is not an actual threat. Common phobias include arachnophobia (fear of spiders), hemophobia (fear of blood), and claustrophobia (fear of confined places). Patients with a specific phobia may recognize that their fear is irrational, but that does stop symptoms from appearing when faced with the trigger. [v]

Social Phobia

Social phobia is the fear of engaging in social interactions, no matter how small. This fear may present itself as self-consciousness or embarrassment before, during, or after an exchange. [vi]

Panic Disorder

Anxiety disorders can result in occasional panic attacks, especially when faced with a trigger. However, when panic attacks, or the fear of having a panic attack, become overwhelming and persistent, it may have developed into a panic disorder. [vii]


Agoraphobia is often attributed to the fear of leaving the safety of home. In reality, agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to avoid any circumstance that they find especially uncomfortable or where they may feel helpless, embarrassed, or trapped. These situations may include driving a car, especially on the freeway, entering a crowded space, walking near traffic, and others. [viii]

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a common anxiety disorder. Unlike other disorders on this list, GAD doesn't rely on a specific trigger or event to make a person feel anxious. Instead, a person with GAD may find themselves in a frequent state of unrest, anxiety, and fear. [ix]

What Causes Anxiety?

Sometimes, because of our personal history and memories, our subconscious may interpret certain events or situations as dangerous, even though there may not be any danger present. PTSD can be a more extreme experience of anxiety. However, there may be genetic predispositions that could be a factor as well.

For example, as you’re driving to the airport to pick up a friend and suddenly there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. The thought that you could be late triggers severe anxiety, psychological and physiologic. This could result in the psychophysiological reactions of increased heart rate or tightness in the chest, which are physiologic manifestations of anxiety.

In severe anxiety disorders, symptoms often persist, even when it is clear there is no real threat to one’s safety. 

Treatment For Anxiety

Typical treatment for anxiety includes psychotherapy and medications, depending on the person and their symptoms.

Counseling in the form of talk therapy can help patients understand their natural reactions to triggers and identify ways to reduce symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can offer concrete skills aimed at reducing anxiety and better managing how one reacts to situations that may trigger anxiety.

Medication is another standard treatment for anxiety and anxiety disorders. Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft or Paxil are used, as well as benzodiazepines like Ativan or Xanax.

There can be a place for medication as a temporary bridge until our non-drug treatment takes hold. Potential downsides to treating anxiety with medications include unwanted side effects, as well as dependency with benzodiazepines. Finding the right medication and dosage could also take time and can sometimes include unexpected and unpleasant side effects. Also, once medication-based treatment is discontinued, symptoms could return.

How The Drake Institute Treats Anxiety Disorders

Over the last 40 years, the Drake Institute has used advanced treatment technologies like qEEG brain mapping and neurofeedback to effectively treat patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions, including ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, depression, and even severe anxiety disorders.

We use the following technologies and practices to create customized treatment protocols designed for each patient's needs:

Brain Mapping

Brain mapping is the first step in our non-drug treatment protocols. To start, 19 sensors are placed around the patient’s scalp in predefined areas.

These sensors measure and record the brain’s activity so that it can be compared to an FDA-registered reference normative database of asymptomatic, same-age individuals.

Once the regions or regions of the brain dysregulation are identified, our Medical Director will create a treatment protocol to address those areas linked to symptoms.


Neurofeedback treatment aims at reducing symptoms through a self-guided process. We do not use invasive procedures or administer any medications during treatment. Instead, patients learn self-regulatory skills as they see and adjust their brain activity in real-time.

Neurofeedback therapy is safe and effective for both children and adults dealing with an anxiety disorder.


At the Drake Institute, we may occasionally use neuromodulation as part of our treatment protocol, especially for more resistant symptoms.

How does it work?

In short, neurostimulation technology gently stimulates brain activity to healthier, more functionally desired pattern, and over time, the patient’s brain can learn to reproduce these patterns with the self-regulation techniques learned during neurofeedback.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

Anxiety, and especially an anxiety disorder, can quickly become more than just an inconvenience - it can drastically reduce your quality of life if left untreated.

If you'd like to know more about how the Drake Institute can help you reduce anxiety-related symptoms and improve your day-to-day life, call us at 800-700-4233, or fill out the free consultation form.


[i] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519704/table/ch3.t15/

[iii] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/separation-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20377455

[iv] https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/selective-mutism/

[v] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/specific-phobia

[vi] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353561

[vii] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms

[viii] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355987

[ix] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad

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dr david velkoff headshot

“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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