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5 common types of anxiety disorder

Moving abroad can be a cause for anxiety.  

A certain amount of anxiety is normal. But for some people, a higher level of anxiety can negatively affect their daily lives and relationships. Major life changes can trigger new types of anxieties or intensify existing ones. These often include living far away from home, getting married, struggling with a difficult job or having children.

Here are some of the more common types of anxiety disorders.

Generalized anxiety disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) worry a lot. They may worry about large issues, such as health, money or their job. They also worry about everyday occurrences, such as appointments, phone calls and the weather. People with GAD tend to “catastrophize” — they imagine the worst thing that could happen and focus on it. GAD can cause fatigue, headaches, irritability and muscle tension.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is marked by obsessive thoughts and ritual behaviors. People with OCD have thoughts or impulses that occur repeatedly. Some are obsessed with germs and the idea that they might become ill. Others are obsessed with the exactness or evenness of things. The person with OCD cannot stop these thoughts. The obsessive thoughts can lead to compulsions. These are rituals that are meant to counteract the thoughts. Rituals can include frequent hand washing, putting things in a certain order or repeating activities a certain number of times (such as blinking, touching something or opening and closing a door).

Panic disorder

People with panic disorder have unexpected episodes of intense fear. The attacks can cause a pounding heart, sweatiness, dizziness, nausea, chest pain or a smothering sensation. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom or a fear of losing control. They can occur at any time, even during sleep.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Some people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were exposed to a single terrifying event such as a natural disaster, war, death of a loved one or major accident. Others have PTSD symptoms stemming from chronic physical or mental abuse or having loved ones who have gone through their own trauma. People with PTSD tend to have flashbacks to the trauma as well as nightmares. They may feel “emotionally numb,” lose interest in things they used to enjoy, or become easily startled and irritable.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder occurs when people are excessively self-conscious in social situations. People with social anxiety disorder experience extreme worries about being judged by others. They’re often afraid of being embarrassed and don’t feel confident navigating social events or interactions. This can cause them to avoid social situations or need alone time to “recover” after being around people.

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Read about treatment for anxiety and related conditions

You can speak to our CARE team for international anxiety resources by contacting Aetna International in your region. 

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